Wildcat bankers or political failure? The Irish financial pantomime, 1797–1826

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Using a new biography of banks, we examine the stability of Irish banking from 1797 to 1826 by constructing a failure rate series. We find that the ultimate cause of the frequent and severe banking crises was the crisis-prone structure of the banking system, which was designed to benefit the political elite. There is little evidence to suggest that wildcat banking or the failure of the Bank of Ireland to act as a lender of last resort were to blame. We also find that the main economic effect of the episodic crises was major diminutions in the money supply.


External organisations
  • Queen's University Belfast
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic History
  • Economics


  • Banking stability, Political economy, Private banks, Ireland, Banking crises
Original languageEnglish
Article numberhez010
Number of pages56
JournalEuropean Review of Economic History
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 8
Publication categoryResearch