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Crisis Chronicles: Gold, Deflation, and the Panic of 1893

Thomas Klitgaard and James Narron

No 20160513, Liberty Street Economics from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: In the late 1800s, a surge in silver production made a shift toward a monetary standard based on gold and silver rather than gold alone increasingly attractive to debtors seeking relief through higher prices. The U.S. government made a tentative step in this direction with the Sherman Silver Purchase Act, an 1890 law requiring the Treasury to significantly increase its purchases of silver. Concern about the United States abandoning the gold standard, however, drove up the demand for gold, which drained the Treasury?s holdings and created strains on the financial system?s liquidity. News in April 1893 that the government was running low on gold was followed by the Panic in May and a severe depression involving widespread commercial and bank failures.

Keywords: panic; 1893; gold; silver; bimetallism; Bryan; Friedman; monetary; policy; standard (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E5 N2 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-05-13
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-mac and nep-mon
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