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The Rise and Fall of Bank Control in the United States: 1890-1939

From: Patt Bagdon <   > 
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 11:02:42 -0800

Abstract: This article studies how equity ownership and corporate control were separated in the United States. Initially, railroads and industrial firms were tightly controlled by a few shareholders; this situation was altered in the 1890s by massive mergers and reorganizations, which allowed private banks to control railroads and industrial firms. Between 1912 and 1939, bank control faded away as a result of a political reaction against financial institutions. Using stock market data from 1914, I show that the eviction of banks from corporate boards depressed firm values by about 7 percent, and that part of this value came from cartelization.

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EconWPA began as a conversation between Bob Parks and Larry Blume on January 28, 1993. I located Paul Ginsparg's archive (then and he graciously installed his software on a Sun Sparc system which was supporting the department of economics email and computation. EconWPA began accepting papers July 1, 1993 and had ftp, email, gopher and web interfaces. The web interface for submissions was engineered into existence in July 1995. A complete and catastrophic machine failure in 1999 caused the loss of EconWPA's email new paper announcment service at which time there were over 15,000 subscriptions with over 8,000 unique email addresses.

In 2005, Arts and Sciences commandeered the computing services that I had provided to the Department of Economics since 1987. Some might say that the department was sold out, others would (erroneously) claim that centralization is efficient, and still others would claim that I have few marketing skills.

I was told that I could keep operating EconWPA (as well as many other services including,, and three RePEc servers) but I would receive no support (hardware, software, or anthing else) and (as had been the case) no compensation. At that point, given the apparent low valuation of my activities by the department, and university, it made no sense for me to continue operating EconWPA or other services.

Thanks to all who have supported EconWPA in the past.

A Chinese curse states May you live in intersting times. I have. Bob Parks - Jan 2006