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Inequality, the Great Recession and slow recovery

Author

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  • Barry Z. Cynamon
  • Steven M. Fazzari

Abstract

Rising inequality reduced income growth for the bottom 95% of the US personal income distribution beginning about 1980. To maintain stable debt to income, this group’s consumption-income ratio needed to decline, which did not happen through 2006, and its debt-income ratio rose dramatically, unlike the ratio for the top 5%. In the Great Recession, the consumption-income ratio for the bottom 95% did finally decline, consistent with tighter borrowing constraints, whilst the top 5% ratio rose, consistent with consumption smoothing. We argue that higher inequality and the associated demand drag helps explain the slow recovery.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:40:y:2016:i:2:p:373-399.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eckhard Hein & Petra Dünhaupt & Ayoze Alfageme & Marta Kulesza, 2017. "Financialisation and distribution in three main Eurozone countries from a Kaleckian perspective: the US, the UK and Sweden compared – before and after the crisis," Working Papers 9/17, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    2. Kohler, Karsten & Guschanski, Alexander & Stockhammer, Engelbert, 2018. "The impact of financialisation on the wage share. A theoretical clarification and empirical test," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-1, School of Economics, Kingston University London.
    3. repec:taf:rripxx:v:24:y:2017:i:5:p:904-928 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hein, Eckhard, 2017. "Financialisation and tendencies towards stagnation: The role of macroeconomic regime changes in the course of and after the financial and economic crisis 2007-9," IPE Working Papers 90/2017, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    5. Eckhard Hein, 2017. "Stagnation policy in the Eurozone and economic policy alternatives: A Steindlian/neo-Kaleckian perspective," Working Papers 10/17, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:elg:ejeepi:v:14:y:2017:i:2:p131-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Eckhard Hein & Petra Dünhaupt & Ayoze Alfageme & Marta Kulesza, 2017. "Financialisation and distribution in three main Eurozone countries from a Kaleckian perspective: France, Germany and Spain compared – before and after the crisis," Working Papers 8/17, Sapienza University of Rome, DISS.
    9. Hein, Eckhard & Dünhaupt, Petra & Alfageme, Ayoze & Kulesza, Marta, 2017. "Financialisation and distribution in the US, the UK, Spain, Germany, Sweden and France: Before and after the crisis," IPE Working Papers 85/2017, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    10. Eckhard Hein, 2017. "Stagnation policy in the Eurozone and economic policy alternatives," FMM Working Paper 05-2017, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    11. Pasquale Tridico & Riccardo Pariboni, 2016. "Inequality, financialisation and economic decline," Departmental Working Papers of Economics - University 'Roma Tre' 0211, Department of Economics - University Roma Tre.
    12. Mark Setterfield, 2017. "Modern (American) Capitalism: A Three Act Tragedy," Working Papers 1722, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    13. repec:ijc:ijcjou:y:2017:q:3:a:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Hein, Eckhard, 2018. "Inequality and growth: Marxian and post-Keynesian/Kaleckian perspectives on distribution and growth regimes before and after the Great Recession," IPE Working Papers 96/2018, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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