This archived content originally appeared at, the predecessor site to, and does not carry the sponsorship of the Cato Institute.

Free banking in New Zealand

Since the revival of interest in the history of free banking begun by Hugh Rockoff's work in the 1970s on American "free banking" of the early 19th century and Larry White's 1984 book on the far freer Scottish system of the same period, economists have studied a number of other free banking episodes in some depth. New Zealand has not been among them, though it has received passing attention. We are fortunate, then, that Harry D. Bedford's 1916 dissertation "The History and Practice of Banking in New Zealand" is now available online. Until this year only paper copies were available at the University of Otago, where it was submitted for the doctorate, and a few other libraries in New Zealand. The university has digitized the dissertation and readers around the world can now find it here.

Harry Bedford was a lawyer, social scientist, and sometime member of the New Zealand Parliament whose life was cut short when he drowned in 1918 at age 40. This brief biographical sketch makes it apparent that he had abundant physical and intellectual energy that would have led to even more notable things had he lived.

(Thanks to Michael Reddell for the pointer.)