Bank regulation used to be riddled with price, product, entry, and location restrictions. Such restrictions were intended to prevent the recurrence of crises, such as those of the 1930s and 1940s. Over time, however, regulatory acquiescence to technological and institutional innovation undermined their ability to limit competition. An intellectual turn toward valorizing competition also hastened their demise. George Stigler, in particular, provided a trenchant critique of all such regulation as the product of pure rent seeking by private industry.

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