Fellow Talks

Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit

Monday, May 5, 2014
Crowd at New York's American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression.
Image credit: 
United States Government

Stephen Haber, the Peter and Helen Bing Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, discussed the history of politics and banking in his talk entitled “Fragile by Design: The Political Origins of Banking Crises and Scarce Credit.” The talk was based on his book of the same name, coauthored by Charles Calomiris; the New York Times review of the book, mentioned in the talk, can be found here. Haber begins by comparing banking in Canada and the United States, arguing that in the United States politics has shaped banking, creating a high propensity for crises. He supports this claim with a detailed economic and political history of banking in the United States from the 1820s to present.