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Debt, boom, bust: a theory of Minsky-Veblen cycles

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  • Jakob Kapeller
  • Bernhard Schütz

Abstract

This article reflects on the economic development leading to the recent crisis and interprets this development as a series of events within a Minsky-Veblen cycle. To illustrate this claim we introduce conspicuous consumption concerns, as described by Veblen, into a stock-flow-consistent post Keynesian model and demonstrate that, under these conditions, a decrease in income equality leads to a corresponding increase in debt-financed consumption demand. Here Minskian dynamics come into play: if perceived economic stability causes banks' margins of safety to decrease sufficiently, increased credit demand is accommodated by credit supply giving rise to a debt-financed consumption boom. As the solvency of households decreases and interest rates move up, banks reduce lending, triggering household bankruptcies and, finally, a recession. What follows is a stable period of consolidation, where past debts are repaid, financial stability is regained and conspicuous consumption motives may gradually take over again. We illustrate this approach to the current crisis and its explanatory validity by extending our stock-flow-consistent model into a dynamic simulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz, 2014. "Debt, boom, bust: a theory of Minsky-Veblen cycles," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(4), pages 781-814.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:postke:v:36:y:2014:i:4:p:781-814
    DOI: 10.2753/PKE0160-3477360409
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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. Rafael Wildauer & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2015. "Schuldengetriebenes Wachstum - Nachfrageffekte von Ungleichheit, Vermögenspreisen und Haushaltsverschuldung," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 41(4), pages 497-518.
    3. Philipp Heimberger & Jakob Kapeller, 2017. "The performativity of potential output: pro-cyclicality and path dependency in coordinating European fiscal policies," Review of International Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(5), pages 904-928, September.
    4. repec:elg:ejeepi:v:14:y:2017:i:2:p131-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Stockhammer, Engelbert & Wildauer, Rafael, 2017. "Expenditure cascades, low interest rates or property booms? Determinants of household debt in OECD countries," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 18276, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    6. Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz, 2015. "Conspicuous Consumption, Inequality and Debt: The Nature of Consumption-driven Profit-led Regimes," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 51-70, February.
    7. Engelbert Stockhammer & Rafael Wildauer, 2016. "Debt-driven growth? Wealth, distribution and demand in OECD countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(6), pages 1609-1634.
    8. Christian Alexander Belabed, 2015. "Income Distribution and the Great Depression," IMK Working Paper 153-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    9. Severin Reissl, 2015. "The return of black box economics - a critique of Keen on effective demand and changes in debt," IMK Working Paper 149-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    10. J. E. King, 2013. "A Brief Introduction to Post Keynesian Macroeconomics," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 39(4), pages 485-508.
    11. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2015. "Wage-led versus profit-led demand: What have we learned? A Kalecki-Minsky view," Working Papers PKWP1512, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    12. Rafael Wildauer, 2016. "Determinants of US household debt: New evidence from the SCF," Working Papers PKWP1608, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
    13. Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz, 2013. "Exploring Pluralist Economics: The Case of the Minsky-Veblen Cycles," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 515-524.
    14. Philipp Poppitz, 2016. "Does self-perceptions and income inequality match?," IMK Working Paper 173-2016, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    15. Eckhard Hein, 2017. "Post-Keynesian macroeconomics since the mid 1990s: main developments," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 14(2), pages 131-172, September.
    16. Barry Z. Cynamon & Steven M. Fazzari, 2016. "Inequality, the Great Recession and slow recovery," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(2), pages 373-399.
    17. Gustavo Pereira Serra & Gilberto Tadeu Lima, 2016. "Sustainability of Student Debt in a Demand-Led Macrodynamics," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2016_15, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    18. Christian A. Belabed, 2016. "Inequality and the New Deal," IMK Working Paper 166-2016, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    19. Philipp Heimberger, 2018. "The Dynamic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation Episodes on Income Inequality," wiiw Working Papers 147, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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