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Financial Centres and International Capital Flows in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries$
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Laure Quennouëlle-Corre and Youssef Cassis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603503

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603503.001.0001

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Wall Street Transitions, 1880–1920: From National to World Financial Centre

Wall Street Transitions, 1880–1920: From National to World Financial Centre

Chapter:
(p.161) 7 Wall Street Transitions, 1880–1920: From National to World Financial Centre
Source:
Financial Centres and International Capital Flows in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Author(s):

Richard Sylla

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603503.003.0007

On the eve of World War I, the U.S. economy was by a good measure the largest in the world. Nonetheless, the USA was viewed as a relatively minor player on the world financial stage. A comparison of leading financial systems, however, indicates that the USA also had by a good measure the largest of any country. The large U.S. financial system served mostly the large domestic U.S. economy with a rather limited role, in comparison to the leading European economies, in international finance. World War I abruptly transformed the USA from a leading debtor nation into the leading creditor nation. An appreciation of the true dimensions of the U.S. financial system before the war contributes to an understanding of how New York, a seemingly secondary financial center in 1913, could become the world’s leading financial center a decade later.

Keywords:   comparative financial systems, financial development, financial centers, banks, stock markets, bond markets

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