Rent-Seeking Origins of Central Banks: The Case of the Federal Reserve System
MENDELU Working Papers in Business and Economics No. 8/2011
19 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011 Last revised: 16 Apr 2012
Date Written: April 17, 2011
What were the purposes for establishment of central banks? Central banks are historically relatively young organizations. Their main purposes are to regulate money supply through interest rates, regulate the banking sector and act as a lender of last resort to banking sector during the time of financial crises. Historical evidence suggests that in the second half of 19th century in the USA private clearing houses were able to provide the banking sector with similar services. In this paper, we follow such evidence and provide Public Choice explanation for establishment of central banks. On the historical example of establishment of the Federal Reserve System we show that the motivation for establishment of the Federal Reserve System might be rather political instead of economic. More precisely, we argue that the Federal Reserve System was established to allow the American Federal Government to control rent-distribution through money supply control and banking sector regulation.
Keywords: Federal Reserve System, financial markets institutions, historical example, rent-seeking
JEL Classification: D72, D73, N21, E42, E58
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation