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BANK RUN: A situation in which a relatively large number of a bank's customers attempt to withdraw their deposits in a relatively short period of time, usually within a day or two. While common throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, government deposit insurance has largely eliminated banks runs in the modern economy. Historically a bank run was prompted by fears that the bank was on the verge of collapse, causing deposits to become worthless. Ironically a bank run often caused the bank to fail. Bank runs were often infectious, leading to economy-wide bank panics and business-cycle contractions.

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