NBER

Angela Vossmeyer

Robert Day School of Economics and Finance
Claremont McKenna College
500 E. Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711
Tel: 909/607-0722

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NBER Program Affiliations: DAE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Claremont McKenna College

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2018Systemic Risk and the Great Depression
with Sanjiv R. Das, Kris James Mitchener: w25405
We employ a unique hand-collected dataset and a novel methodology to examine systemic risk before and after the largest U.S. banking crisis of the 20th century. Our systemic risk measure captures both the credit risk of an individual bank as well as a bank’s position in the network. We construct linkages between all U.S. commercial banks in 1929 and 1934 so that we can measure how predisposed the entire network was to risk, where risk was concentrated, and how the failure of more than 9,000 banks during the Great Depression altered risk in the network. We find that the pyramid structure of the commercial banking system (i.e., the network’s topology) created more inherent fragility, but systemic risk was nevertheless fairly dispersed throughout banks in 1929, with the top 20 banks contribut...

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