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Austerity, inequality, and private debt overhang

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  • Klein, Mathias
  • Winkler, Roland

Abstract

Using panel data of 17 OECD countries for 1980–2011, we find that the distributional consequences of fiscal consolidations depend significantly on the level of private indebtedness. Austerity leads to a strong and persistent increase in income inequality during periods of private debt overhang. In contrast, there are no discernible distributional effects when private debt is low. This result is robust to alternative identifications of fiscal consolidations, to different ways of defining periods of private debt overhang, and to controlling for the state of the business cycle and the level of government debt. We explore different channels through which our findings can be rationalized.

Suggested Citation

  • Klein, Mathias & Winkler, Roland, 2019. "Austerity, inequality, and private debt overhang," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 89-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:57:y:2019:i:c:p:89-106
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2018.08.003
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliver Hülsewig & Horst Rottmann, 2020. "Euro Area Periphery Countries' Fiscal Policy and Monetary Policy Surprises," CESifo Working Paper Series 8041, CESifo.
    2. Marco Bernardini & Selien De Schryder & Gert Peersman, 2020. "Heterogeneous Government Spending Multipliers in the Era Surrounding the Great Recession," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(2), pages 304-322, May.
    3. Klein, Mathias & Winkler, Roland, 2019. "Austerity, inequality, and private debt overhang," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 89-106.
    4. Yuliya Demyanyk & Elena Loutskina & Daniel Murphy, 2019. "Fiscal Stimulus and Consumer Debt," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 101(4), pages 728-741, October.
    5. KLEIN, Mathias & POLATTIMUR, Hamza & WINKLER, Roland, 2020. "Fiscal spending multipliers over the household leverage cycle," Working Papers 2020007, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    6. Sangyup Choi & Junhyeok Shin, 2020. "Household Indebtedness and the Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes," Working papers 2020rwp-178, Yonsei University, Yonsei Economics Research Institute.
    7. Martin Harding & Mathias Klein, . "Monetary policy and household net worth," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Snezana Eminidou & Martin Geiger & Marios Zachariadis, 2021. "Public Debt and state-dependent Effects of Fiscal Policy in the Euro Area," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 03-2021, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    9. Angrick, Stefan & Nemoto, Naoko, 2018. "Breaking Par: Short-Term Determinants of Yen-Dollar Swap Deviations," ADBI Working Papers 859, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    10. Vanesa Jorda & Jose M. Alonso, 2020. "What works to mitigate and reduce relative (and absolute) inequality?: A systematic review," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-152, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Austerity; Fiscal policy; Inequality; Private debt; Local projections;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E64 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Incomes Policy; Price Policy
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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