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Income Distribution, Consumer Debt and Keeping up with the Joneses

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  • Soon Ryoo
  • Yun K. Kim

Abstract

We extend Kaldor's theory of income distribution to include workers' debt accumulation and their motive to emulate rentiers' consumption. Our results show that (i) the interaction between income distribution and emulation can produce instability; (ii) instability is more likely when the workers' emulation motive is strong and bankers' lending decisions are highly accommodating; and (iii) a plausible assumption on the non-linearity of emulation behavior can generate a limit cycle. Our analysis provides an alternative perspective on the increase in household indebtedness for the decades before the recent crisis and the subsequent deleveraging process.

Suggested Citation

  • Soon Ryoo & Yun K. Kim, 2014. "Income Distribution, Consumer Debt and Keeping up with the Joneses," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 585-618, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:metroe:v:65:y:2014:i:4:p:585-618
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/meca.12052
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert A. Blecker, 2015. "Wage-led Versus Profit-led Demand Regimes: The Long and Short of It," Working Papers 2015-05, American University, Department of Economics.
    2. Soon Ryoo, 2016. "Inequality of Income and Wealth in the Long Run: A Kaldorian Perspective," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(2), pages 429-457, May.
    3. Roberto Veneziani & Luca Zamparelli & Maria Nikolaidi & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2017. "Minsky Models: A Structured Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1304-1331, December.
    4. Fernando Rugitsky, 2016. "Growth, distribution, and sectoral heterogeneity: reading the Kaleckians in Latin America," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2016_26, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    5. Klein, Mathias & Krause, Christopher, 2014. "Income Redistribution, Consumer Credit,and Keeping up with the Riches," Ruhr Economic Papers 509, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Yun K. Kim, 2017. "Rise of Household Debt and the Great Recession in the US: Comparative Perspectives," Working Papers 2017_03, University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department.
    7. Laura Carvalho & Fernando Rugitsky, 2016. "Growth And Distribution In Brazil In The 21st Century: Revisiting The Wage-Led Versus Profit-Led Debate," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 027, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    8. Engelbert Stockhammer & Rafael Wildauer, 2017. "Expenditure cascades, low interest rates or property booms? Determinants of household debt in OECD Countries," Working Papers PKWP1710, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
    9. Laura Carvalho & Fernando Rugitsky, 2015. "Growth and distribution in Brazil the 21st century: revisiting the wage-led versus profit-led debate," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2015_25, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).

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