Jeffrey A. Miron

miron@fas.harvard.edu

Related Freeman Articles

Book Review

Can Gun Control Work?

Is Eliminating Gun Ownership a Desirable Policy Goal?

JULY 06, 2010 by JEFFREY MIRON

Article

Do We Need Deposit Insurance?

APRIL 24, 2009 by JEFFREY MIRON

f banks can suspend convertibility, depositors know that runs merely precipitate suspension. This greatly reduces depositor incentive to panic and run. Allowing banks the right to suspend would probably not eliminate all runs, but it would plausibly limit them to banks that are insolvent rather than merely illiquid. The question, then, is whether a banking system with less regulation--no prohibition on suspension and no deposit insurance--might work better than current regulation--prohibitions on suspension, combined with deposit insurance and balance-sheet regulation. The evidence from the pre-1914 era suggests that the regime with less regulation has promise. Banks were not legally allowed to suspend convertibility during this era, but many did so anyway, sometimes with explicit approval of, or even encouragement from, regulators. This did not eliminate runs and panics, but the record suggests that suspension reduced contagion and failure in these episodes.

CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it's also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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