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Does Inequality Lead to a Financial Crisis? Revisited

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  • Xinhua Gu
  • Bihong Huang

Abstract

Financial crises have been attributed to rising income inequality via its induced high household leverage as observed in the USA and similar economies. Alternatively it has been suggested this is not a general relationship since it was found that inequality had no bearing on crises in 14 advanced countries over 1920–2008; instead, low interest rates and business cycle expansions are found to be the only two robust determinants of credit booms leading to crises. Using a similar dataset, this paper provides no support for the generality of the above findings by embracing country heterogeneity. The paper shows that real evidence still points back to the inequality-leverage–crisis nexus for financialized economies. The implication is that finance can hardly be sustainable under rising inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Xinhua Gu & Bihong Huang, 2014. "Does Inequality Lead to a Financial Crisis? Revisited," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(3), pages 502-516, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:18:y:2014:i:3:p:502-516
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/rode.12099
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Claudius Gräbner & Philipp Heimberger & Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz, 2017. "Is Europe disintegrating? Macroeconomic divergence, structural polarization, trade and fragility," Economics working papers 2017-15, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    2. Areosa, Waldyr Dutra & Areosa, Marta B.M., 2016. "The inequality channel of monetary transmission," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 214-230.
    3. repec:eee:poleco:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:171-195 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Yamarik, Steven & El-Shagi, Makram & Yamashiro, Guy, 2016. "Does inequality lead to credit growth? Testing the Rajan hypothesis using state-level data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 63-67.
    5. Stockhammer, Engelbert & Wildauer, Rafael, 2017. "Expenditure Cascades, Low Interest Rates or Property Booms? Determinants of Household Debt in OECD Countries," Economics Discussion Papers 2017-3, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    6. Oliver Denk & Boris Cournède, 2015. "Finance and income inequality in OECD countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1224, OECD Publishing.
    7. repec:agr:journl:v:xxiv:y:2017:i:2(611):p:61-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Xinhua Gu & Bihong Huang & Pui Sun Tam & Yang Zhang, 2015. "Inequality and Saving: Further Evidence from Integrated Economies," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 15-30, February.
    9. de Haan, Jakob & Sturm, Jan-Egbert, 2017. "Finance and income inequality: A review and new evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 171-195.
    10. Sturm, Jan-Egbert & De Haan, Jakob, 2016. "Finance and income inequality revisited," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145660, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Boris Cournède & Oliver Denk & Peter Hoeller, 2015. "Finance and Inclusive Growth," OECD Economic Policy Papers 14, OECD Publishing.
    12. Jon Frost & Ruben van Tilburg, 2014. "Financial globalization or great financial expansion? The impact of capital flows on credit and banking crises," DNB Working Papers 441, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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