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Pressure-Group Influence and Institutional Change: Branch-Banking Legislation during the Great Depression

Burton A. Abrams and Russell F. Settle
Public Choice
Vol. 77, No. 4 (1993), pp. 687-705
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30027183
Page Count: 19
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Abstract

Between 1931 and 1935 the change in the state laws governing the organizational structure of banking was significant. Twenty-two states relaxed restrictions over branch banking, even though many had previously prohibited it. We apply a model of pressure-group and rent-seeking behavior to investigate the reasons underlying this remarkable shift in the institutional arrangements for regulating the structure of the banking industry. The findings indicate that the extraordinarily high rate of bank failures tipped the political balance toward the pro-branching forces in many states. However, in a number of states growth in the influence of branch and group bankers and increases in urbanization were largely responsible for the relaxation of restrictions over branch banking.

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