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Income Distribution and Consumption Driven Growth: How Consumption Behaviors of the Top Two Income Quintiles Help to Explain the Economy


  • Timothy Wunder


Recent institutionalist and post-Keynesian work on business cycles continues with the traditional institutionalist supposition that financial bubbles drive cycles; however there has been a growing sense in the literature that household consumption, not business investment, has become the key variable. This paper will show how this is a change from historical institutional theory and it will then discuss how this change pushes income distribution toward a more central role in explaining current cycle dynamics. Specifically, this paper argues that much of the economic growth over the last two decades can be attributed to the top two quintiles borrowing more and the current slow growth can be attributed to high quintile households increasing their consumption while middle income households are continuing to deleverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy Wunder, 2012. "Income Distribution and Consumption Driven Growth: How Consumption Behaviors of the Top Two Income Quintiles Help to Explain the Economy," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(1), pages 173-192.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:46:y:2012:i:1:p:173-192 DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624460107

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David Cayla, 2013. "European Debt Crisis: How a Public Debt Restructuring Can Solve a Private Debt Issue," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 427-436.
    2. Ho, Sin-Yu & Njindan Iyke, Bernard, 2017. "Consumption and Exchange Rate Uncertainty: Evidence from Selected Asian Countries," MPRA Paper 80096, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Aboohamidi, Abbas & Chidmi, Benaissa, 2015. "Changes in the Wealth of American Households during the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis in the U.S," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205451, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association;Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    4. Sébastien Charles & Thomas Dallery & Jonathan Marie, 2015. "Why the Keynesian Multiplier Increases During Hard Times: A Theoretical Explanation Based on Rentiers' Saving Behaviour," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 451-473, July.
    5. Timothy A. Wunder, 2016. "Setting a Principal to Interest Cap on the Issuance of Home Mortgages: a Proposed Change to Mortgage Underwriting Rules Designed to Control Housing Price Inflation," World Economic Review, World Economics Association, vol. 2016(6), pages 1-86, February.

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