IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fce/doctra/1013.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inequality and Macroeconomic Performance

Author

Abstract

This paper argues that although the crisis may have emerged in the financial sector, its roots are much deeper and lie in a structural change in income distribution that has been going on for the past three decades. The widespread increase of inequality depressed aggregate demand and prompted monetary policy to react by maintaining a low level of interest rate which itself allowed private debt to increase beyond sustainable levels. On the other hand the search for high-return investment by those who benefited from the increase in inequalities led to the emergence of bubbles. Net wealth became overvalued, and high asset prices gave the false impression that high levels of debt were sustainable. The crisis revealed itself when the bubbles exploded, and net wealth returned to normal level. We further argue that how the trend of increasing inequality interacted differently with policies and institutions, to yield radically different outcomes in the US and in the large European Union countries before the onset of the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Francesco Saraceno, 2010. "Inequality and Macroeconomic Performance," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-13, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1013
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ofce.sciences-po.fr/pdf/dtravail/WP2010-13.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & Eloi Laurent, 2009. "Macroeconomic and social policies in the EU 15: the last two decades," Sciences Po publications 2009-21, Sciences Po.
    2. Dew-Becker, Ian & Gordon, Robert J, 2005. "Where did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income," CEPR Discussion Papers 5419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, March.
    4. Jean-Paul Fitoussi & David Jestaz & Edmund S. Phelps & Gylfi Zoega, 2000. "Roots of the Recent Recoveries: Labor Reforms or Private Sector Forces?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 237-311.
    5. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri & Luigi Pistaferri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Cross Sectional Facts for Macroeconomists," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 1-14, January.
    6. Fitoussi Jean Paul & Saraceno Francesco, 2010. "Europe: How Deep Is a Crisis? Policy Responses and Structural Factors Behind Diverging Performances," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, January.
    7. Jerome Creel & Francesco Saraceno, 2008. "Automatic Stabilisation, Discretionary Policy and the Stability Pact," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2008-15, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    8. Cynamon Barry Z. & Fazzari Steven M., 2008. "Household Debt in the Consumer Age: Source of Growth--Risk of Collapse," Capitalism and Society, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 1-32, October.
    9. Ian Dew-Becker & Robert J. Gordon, 2005. "Where Did Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 36(2), pages 67-150.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Financial crisis; income inequality; US and EU comparison; household debt; aggregate demand;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • F41 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Open Economy Macroeconomics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Francesco Saraceno). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ofcspfr.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.