UCBH sem: Patrice Baubeau “Regulatory responses to financial crises: public opinion, banking scandals and biased economic perspectives in interwar France”

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Patrice Baubeau (Paris Nanterre Université/IDHES)
  • Organiser: Department of Economic History / UCBH
  • Contact person: Anders Ögren
  • Seminarium

“Regulatory responses to financial crises: public opinion, banking scandals and biased economic perspectives in interwar France” (co-authored with Angelo Riva)

Despite the experience of a comparable financial crisis in 1930, France failed to implement comprehensive banking regulations before the WWII as other developed countries did. The usual explanations have been either to deny the timing and magnitude of the crisis, or to put the blame on “politics as usual” and liberal-conservative conceptions. As shown by a previous study, the first explanation does not stand to analysis. The aim of our paper is to put to test the second explanation. We build a “public opinion proxy” database using a very large body of digitized journals to show that the financial crisis was perceived more as a danger to individual savers and their savings than as a systemic financial meltdown where declining deposits led to declining credits. Thus, the political and regulatory response appears to have been consistent with the perceived narrative of the crisis, and it is the latter that was faulty, due to a lack of statistical equipment and comprehensive economic perspectives.