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May/June 1998, 
Vol. 80, No. 3
Posted 1998-05-01

Lessons from a Laissez-Faire Payments System: The Suffolk Banking System (1825-58)

by Arthur J. Rolnick, Bruce D. Smith, and Warren E. Weber

The authors argue that a closer examination of the history of the Suffolk Banking System calls into question the conclusion that unfettered competition in the provision of payments services can—and, in the absence of government intervention, likely will—produce an efficient payments system.