2014-09 Sources of credit and the extent of the credit market
This paper exploits newly-collected, highly-detailed data on sources of credit drawn from documents filed by a sample of petitioners for bankruptcy in Mississippi in the 1930s. The bankruptcy documents reveal that long-distance credit networks were extensive during this period. Credit networks were dominated by trade credit, particularly book credit that was extended from business to business. At this time, the bank-to-business lending channels that are common today were only beginning to develop. Manufacturers had both fewer long-distance creditors and fewer financial intermediaries as creditors than either merchants or farmers. New sources of consumer credit, though, were available even in the relatively under-developed Deep South.