NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Steven D. Sprick Schuster

Colgate University
43 Eaton St
Hamilton, NY 13346

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Colgate University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2019An Empirical History of the United States Postal Savings System
with Matthew Jaremski, Elisabeth Ruth Perlman: w25812
Seeking to reach the unbanked, the United States Postal Savings System provided a federally insured savings alternative to traditional banks. Using novel datasets on postal deposits, demographic characteristics, and banks, we study how and by whom the System was used. We find the program was initially used by non-farming immigrant populations for short-term saving, then as a safe haven during the Great Depression, and finally as long-term investment for the wealthy during the 1940s. However, even during the earliest period, Postal Savings was only a partial substitute for traditional banks, as locations with banks often still heavily used postal savings.
 
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