BOOK REVIEWS 355 the prevalence of such ﬁrms in the local economies (for the two towns where this can be evaluated). Some historians have imagined that antebellum banks failed to feed the economy’s growth sectors, but no such failure is evident in the balance-sheet data. To assess whether the antebellum banking system moved funds from lower-return to higher-return areas, Bodenhorn turns to the standard question of whether the regional pattern of interest rates shows the convergence implied by arbitrage. A number of historians have found that the postbellum period was marked by a lack of national capital-market integration. Bodenhorn (162) ﬁnds, somewhat surprisingly, that “regional interest rate differentials were generally smaller before 1860 than after 1900.” The disintegrative effects of the Civil War— or perhaps of the National Banking regulations imposed during the War—were remarkably large and persistent. Bodenhorn rightly questions the view that Nicholas Biddle personally brought about market integration through the policies he pursued as head of the Second Bank of the United States, a view common among historians who simply take Biddle’s word for it. He argues that although the Second Bank was not irrelevant, the integration into a national capital market was largely accomplished by
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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