While the original question of the cause of banking panics has not been answered, at least researchers appear to be looking for the answer in a different place. Our goal in this essay is to evaluate the persuasiveness of recent models of the origins of banking panics in light of available evidence. We begin, in section 4.2, with a definition of a banking panic, followed by a discussion of panics in U.S. history. A brief set of stylized facts which a theory must confront is developed. In section 4.3, recent empirical evidence on panics which strongly suggests the importance of the institutional structure is reviewed. Theories of panics must be consistent with this evidence.