Why are banking systems unstable in so many countries--but not in others? The United States has had twelve systemic banking crises since 1840, while Canada has had none. The banking systems of Mexico and Brazil have not only been crisis prone but have provided miniscule amounts of credit to business enterprises and households. Analyzing the political and banking history of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil through several centuries, Fragile by Design demonstrates that chronic banking crises and scarce credit are not accidents. Calomiris and Haber combine political history and economics to examine how coalitions of politicians, bankers, and other interest groups form, why they endure, and how they generate policies that determine who gets to be a banker, who has access to credit, and who pays for bank bailouts and rescues. Fragile by Design is a revealing exploration of the ways that politics inevitably intrudes into bank regulation.
Charles W. Calomiris is a professor at Columbia Business School and Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. Stephen H. Haber is a professor of political science and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Preface ix SECTION ONE No Banks without States, and No States without Banks 1 If Stable and Effi cient Banks Are Such a Good Idea, Why Are They So Rare? 3 2 The Game of Bank Bargains 27 3 Tools of Conquest and Survival: Why States Need Banks 60 4 Privileges with Burdens: War, Empire, and the Monopoly Structure of English Banking 84 5 Banks and Democracy: Britain in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries 105 SECTION TWO The Cost of Banker-Populist Alliances: The United States versus Canada 6 Crippled by Populism: U.S. Banking from Colonial Times to 1990 153 7 The New U.S. Bank Bargain: Megabanks, Urban Activists, and the Erosion of Mortgage Standards 203 8 Leverage, Regulatory Failure, and the Subprime Crisis 256 9 Durable Partners: Politics and Banking in Canada 283 SECTION THREE Authoritarianism, Democratic Transitions, and the Game of Bank Bargains 10 Mexico: Chaos Makes Cronyism Look Good 331 11 When Autocracy Fails: Banking and Politics in Mexico since 1982 366 12 Infl ation Machines: Banking and State Finance in Imperial Brazil 390 13 The Democratic Consequences of Infl ation-Tax Banking in Brazil 415 SECTION FOUR Going beyond Structural Narratives 14 Traveling to Other Places: Is Our Sample Representative? 451 15 Reality Is a Plague on Many Houses 479 References 507 Index 549