Malmö diskont : en krisanatomi

Sammanfattning: In 1817, the then fourteen-year old bank, Malmö diskont, was the target of a bank run and the bank had to close. It had already been put under government control, due to mismanagement in the last few years of its existence. At the time, Malmö diskont was one of three privately owned banks and all three had to close as a result of a loss of confidence and bank runs also on the other two banks. Thus, private banks, with their roots in the 18th century disappeared, with noticeable economic repercussions. Although there was an unofficial credit market, consisting of the merchants and private bankers, (in addition to the government-owned Riksens Ständers Bank) it took a long time to restore confidence in privately owned commercial banks. This Licentiate thesis deals with this financial crisis in Sweden in 1817. The purpose is to describe this crisis from an institutional perspective and incorporate both formal and informal institutions to help explain why this crisis occurred. The basic assumption is that institutions both set the limits for individuals’ actions and sometimes direct them towards actions. The research questions were aimed at answering what institutions existed, to analyze the qualitative aspects of the institutions and try to answer how they may have influenced the actions of the Malmö diskont management. The results show that institutions at the time both influenced and paved the way for the dubious management of the bank in its last years. Sometimes, institutions widened the perceived area of discretion; at others, it curtailed the freedom of action to such an extent that the rules of the institutional framework became virtually unmanageable. The broader contribution of my research is to add to the theory of financial crises, how both explicit and implicit rules of the game contribute to crises.

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