Vinculaciones Políticas en un Régimen de Banca Libre: El Caso de la Crisis Bancaria de 1878 en Chile

IGNACIO BRIONES

REVISTA DE HISTORIA ECONOMICA, Volume 34, Issue 3

Abstract: In 1878 Chile experienced a banking crisis which brought an end to the Chilean free-banking period based on convertibility initiated in 1860. Using monthly bank balance sheets and other primary sources, I analyze the period and argue that one important explanation for the crisis was the growing relationship between banks and government through state loans to finance fiscal deficits and privileges to the issuing banks. I claim that the crisis emerged from a large bank loan in late 1877 which induced over-issuance and depreciation expectations leading, logically, to a bank run. The Chilean case provides valuable evidence of an element frequently neglected by the free-banking literature: the links between banks and government.