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Growth and distribution after the 2007–2008 US financial crisis: who shouldered the burden of the crisis?

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  • Mathieu Dufour

    (Département des Sciences Sociales, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Gatineau, QC, Canada)

  • Özgür Orhangazi

    (Department of Economics, Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey)

Abstract

The post-1980 era witnessed an increase in the frequency and severity of financial crises around the globe, the majority of which took place in low- and middle-income countries. Studies of the impacts of these crises have identified three broad sets of consequences. First, the burden of crises falls disproportionately on labor in general and low-income segments of society in particular. In the years following financial crises, wages and labor share of income fall, the rate of unemployment increases, the power of labor and labor unions is eroded, and income inequality and rates of poverty increase. Capital as a whole, on the other hand, usually recovers quickly and most of the time gains more ground. Second, the consequences of crises are visible not only through asset and income distribution, but also in government policies. Government policies in most cases favor capital, especially financial capital, at the expense of large masses. In addition, many crises have presented opportunities for further deregulation and liberalization, not only in financial markets but in the rest of the economy as well. Third, in the aftermath of financial crises in low- and middle-income economies, capital inflows may increase as international capital seeks to take advantage of the crisis and acquire domestic financial and non-financial assets. The 2007–2008 financial crisis in the US provides an opportunity to extend this analysis to a leading high-income country and see if the patterns visible in other crises are also visible in this case. Using the questions and issues typically raised in examinations of low- and middle- income countries, we study the consequences of the 2007–2008 US financial crisis and complement the budding literature on the ‘Great Recession.’ In particular, we examine the impacts of the crisis on labor and capital, with a focus on distributional effects of the crisis such as changes in income shares of labor and capital, and the evolution of inequality and poverty. We also analyse the role of government policies through a study of government taxation and spending policies, and examine capital flow patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Mathieu Dufour & Özgür Orhangazi, 2016. "Growth and distribution after the 2007–2008 US financial crisis: who shouldered the burden of the crisis?," Review of Keynesian Economics, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 4(2), pages 151-174, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:elg:rokejn:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p151-174
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James Crotty, 2012. "The great austerity war: what caused the US deficit crisis and who should pay to fix it?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 79-104.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    financial crisis; Great Recession; 2008 crisis;

    JEL classification:

    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements

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