| HBS Working Paper Series
Did Bank Distress Stifle Innovation During the Great Depression?
Bank distress during the Great Depression had a significant negative impact on the level, quality and trajectory of firm-level innovation, particularly for R&D firms operating in capital intensive industries. However, because a sufficient number of R&D intensive firms were located in counties with lower levels of bank distress, or were operating in less capital intensive industries, the negative effects were mitigated in aggregate. Although Depression era bank distress did stifle innovation, our results also help to explain why technological development was still robust following one of the largest shocks in the history of the U.S. banking system.
Keywords: Great Depression;