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Why the subprime crisis is different: a Minskyian approach

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  • Gary A. Dymski

Abstract

Minsky's financial-instability model suggests that financial crises can be resolved efficiently with lender-of-last-resort and big-government interventions. The crisis that began in 2007 (hereafter, the "2007 crisis") has been different: it has been more profound and resistant to policy interventions. This paper examines why. Our approach is to expand Minsky's balance-sheet approach in several ways. First, we incorporate two factors Minsky missed because he built his model in the 1970s: the impact of racial exclusion and U.S. cross-border imbalances on U.S. financial dynamics. In addition, we draw out the analytical implications of the systematic differences between banks' and non-banks' balance-sheets. Minsky didn't do this; but because of the transformation of banking after 1980, these differences have become deeply significant. One key effect of so doing is to see that asset-liability balances as well as cash-flows are crucial in financial dynamics. This paper concludes that the 2007 crisis has been so profound and unresponsive to policy intervention for several reasons: banks no longer bear as well as originate credit risk; banks made exploitative loans to minority borrowers and then generalized these loans as housing prices rose; and subprime homeowners and structured investment vehicles became more leveraged than banks. Copyright The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bep054
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Cambridge Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 239-255

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:34:y:2010:i:2:p:239-255

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Cited by:
  1. Jon D. Wisman, 2012. "Wage Stagnation, Rising Inequality and the Financial Crisis of 2008," Working Papers 2012-01, American University, Department of Economics.
  2. J. N. Marshall & A. Pike & J. S. Pollard & J. Tomaney & S. Dawley & J. Gray, 2012. "Placing the run on northern rock," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 157-181, January.
  3. Arestis, P. & Singh, A., 2010. "Financial Globalisation and Crisis, Institutional Transformation and Equity," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp405, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  4. Hauck, Achim & Neyer, Ulrike, 2014. "Disagreement between rating agencies and bond opacity: A theoretical perspective," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(1), pages 82-85.
  5. Tropeano, D., 2013. "Financial Fragility in the Current European crisis," CITYPERC Working Paper Series 2013-09, Department of International Politics, City University London.
  6. Jon D. Wisman & Barton Baker, 2011. "Rising Inequality and the Financial Crises of 1929 and 2008," Working Papers 2011-01 JEL classificatio, American University, Department of Economics.
  7. Jesus Munoz, 2011. "Orthodox versus Heterodox (Minskyan) Perspectives of Financial Crises: Explosion in the 1990s versus Implosion in the 2000s," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_695, Levy Economics Institute.
  8. Eugenio Caverzasi, 2014. "Minsky and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis: The Financial Instability Hypothesis in the Era of Financialization," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_796, Levy Economics Institute.
  9. Christine Sinapi, 2011. "Institutional Prerequisites of Financial Fragility within Minsky's Financial Instability Hypothesis: A Proposal in Terms of 'Institutional Fragility'," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_674, Levy Economics Institute.

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