IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/frz/wpaper/wp2021_15.rdf.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Financial Instability and Income Inequality: why the connection Minsky-Piketty matters for Macroeconomics

Author

Listed:
  • Filippo Gusella
  • Anna Maria Variato

Abstract

In recent years the names of Minsky and Piketty gained increasing notoriety to researchers because the two authors investigated issues of financial instability and income inequality, which represent both two unsolved macroeconomic problems of the new millennium, and evidence contradicting the long†run implications of mainstream macroeconomics. By combining these two names we set ourselves an ambitious goal, going beyond the technical aspects of the model presented in the paper. Indeed, not only we want to contribute directly to the debate meant at clarifying the controversial relationship between financial instability and income inequality; we also aim at addressing a broader issue which is the explanation of the reasons why a theoretical revolution in macroeconomics has not yet occurred, and why financial aspects still play a subordinate role to real factors in the explanation of growth and cycles. In this broader perspective Minsky and Piketty are assumed as extreme examples of the opposite poles of heterodoxy and orthodoxy. Both target and argumentative line of the contribution are quite unconventional, as usually financial instability and income inequality, are treated as separate if not independent issues of inquiry; and methodological reflection is no longer a customary explicit part of technical papers. We discuss possible reasons why these two circumstances happen. The theoretical framework proposed in this paper builds on Ferri (2016), who presents a class of demandled models in a medium†run time horizon. This class of models is not conventional too, though it belongs to “pedagogical models†, we consider especially relevant tool for macroeconomics. Among the different specifications investigated by the author, we select the nearest to possible comparison with Piketty (2014) and then we introduce corporate debt into the financial account of firms. Because of the non†linearity of the model, we explore its dynamic properties with numerical simulations. Such simulations are also performed to assess the parameters enabling to support the Financial Instability Hypothesis. Aiming at deepening the comprehension of robustness properties, we also consider analytic results from a linearized version of the model. Obviously, the criticism addressed to Piketty with respect to the definition and measurement of inequality can be extended to our model too, as we use the same expedient to check the evolution of inequality. This leads to emphasize the relevance of the issue of measurement as a critical one for future developments. Nevertheless, this does not impinge on the achievement of our purpose. Indeed, our analysis confirms the utility of pedagogical models. Furthermore, it underlines the need of a change of economic vision such that complexity comes as a substantial part of representation. In terms of future perspectives these considerations point out the need for macroeconomic epistemology to resume constructive dialectics: a mixture of plural narratives and foundations for new visions of economic policy. Those just proposed at the end of the paper differ from orthodox ones as they call for financial regulation, they underline qualitative aspects and heterogeneity; but such embryonal policy suggestions stem from the overall perspective described in the paper, a perspective rooted into Ferri’s notion of medium†run, and qualified by Minsky through an eclectic approach leading to networks of balance†sheets: two ways highly overlapping though not totally equivalent to represent the reality of and endogenously unstable capitalism lying at the edge of chaos.

Suggested Citation

  • Filippo Gusella & Anna Maria Variato, 2021. "Financial Instability and Income Inequality: why the connection Minsky-Piketty matters for Macroeconomics," Working Papers - Economics wp2021_15.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  • Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2021_15.rdf
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.disei.unifi.it/upload/sub/pubblicazioni/repec/pdf/wp15_2021.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michel Aglietta & Xavier Timbeau, 2017. "Capitalisme et inégalités," Revue d'économie financière, Association d'économie financière, vol. 0(4), pages 21-43.
    2. Odran Bonnet & Pierre-Henri Bono & Guillaume Chapelle & Etienne Wasmer, 2014. "Does housing capital contribute to inequality? A comment on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2014-07, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    3. Maria Nikolaidi, 2017. "Three decades of modelling Minsky: what we have learned and the way forward," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 14(2), pages 222-237, September.
    4. Luisa Fernandez, 2008. "Minsky and Economic Policy: A Minskyan Analysis of the Subprime Crisis," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_548, Levy Economics Institute.
    5. Quah, Danny T, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(437), pages 1045-1055, July.
    6. Alessandro Vercelli, 2010. "Minsky Moments, Russell Chickens and Grey Swans: The Methodological Puzzles of Financial Instability Analysis," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Daniela Tavasci & Jan Toporowski (ed.), Minsky, Crisis and Development, chapter 1, pages 15-31, Palgrave Macmillan.
    7. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Part I. The Wealth Residual," NBER Working Papers 21189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Part IV: Land and Credit," NBER Working Papers 21192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Fadhel Kaboub & Zdravka Todorova & Luisa Fernandez, 2010. "Inequality-Led Financial Instability," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 3-27.
    10. Madsen, Jakob B., 2019. "Wealth and inequality over eight centuries of British capitalism," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 246-260.
    11. Robert Rowthorn, 2014. "A note on Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 38(5), pages 1275-1284.
    12. Chrysovalantis Amountzias, 2019. "An investigation of the effects of income inequality on financial fragility: Evidence from Organization for Economic Co‐operation and Development countries," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 241-259, January.
    13. Roberto Veneziani & Luca Zamparelli & Maria Nikolaidi & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2017. "Minsky Models: A Structured Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1304-1331, December.
    14. Marc Lavoie, 2014. "Post-Keynesian Economics: New Foundations," Post-Print hal-01343652, HAL.
    15. Botta, Alberto & Caverzasi, Eugenio & Russo, Alberto & Gallegati, Mauro & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2021. "Inequality and finance in a rent economy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 998-1029.
    16. Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(3), pages 1255-1310.
    17. Levine, Ross, 2005. "Finance and Growth: Theory and Evidence," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 865-934, Elsevier.
    18. Piero Ferri, 2016. "Aggregate Demand, Inequality and Instability," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 17444.
    19. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth and Inheritance in the Long Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 10072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Aghion,Philippe & Williamson,Jeffrey G., 1999. "Growth, Inequality, and Globalization," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521659109, November.
    21. Peter Skott, 2013. "Increasing Inequality and Financial Instability," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 45(4), pages 478-488, December.
    22. Piero Ferri & AnnaMaria Variato, 2010. "Financial Fragility, the Minskian Triad, and Economic Dynamics," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 70-82.
    23. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Inequality in the long run," Post-Print halshs-01053609, HAL.
    24. Hoover,Kevin D., 2001. "Causality in Macroeconomics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521002882, November.
    25. Bertola, Giuseppe, 2000. "Macroeconomics of distribution and growth," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 477-540, Elsevier.
    26. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/30nstiku669glbr66l6n7mc2oq is not listed on IDEAS
    27. Delli Gatti,Domenico & Fagiolo,Giorgio & Gallegati,Mauro & Richiardi,Matteo & Russo,Alberto (ed.), 2018. "Agent-Based Models in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781108400046, November.
    28. John Nkwoma Inekwe & Yi Jin & Maria Rebecca Valenzuela, 2020. "Income inequality, financial flows and political institution: sub-Saharan African financial network," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(6), pages 2635-2665, June.
    29. Magda Kandil & Muhammad Shahbaz & Samia Nasreen, 2015. "The interaction between globalization and financial development: new evidence from panel cointegration and causality analysis," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 49(4), pages 1317-1339, December.
    30. Sebastian-Ilie DRAGOE, 2016. "Inequality Fragility Hypothesis," Expert Journal of Economics, Sprint Investify, vol. 4(2), pages 34-52.
    31. Morck, Randall & Deniz Yavuz, M. & Yeung, Bernard, 2011. "Banking system control, capital allocation, and economy performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 264-283, May.
    32. Tony Lawson, 2005. "The (confused) state of equilibrium analysis in modern economics: an explanation," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(3), pages 423-444.
    33. Antonella Stirati, 2017. "Wealth, Capital and the Theory of Distribution: Some Implications for Piketty’s Analysis," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 47-63, January.
    34. Peter Skott, 2011. "Heterodox macro after the crisis," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-23, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    35. Ferri, Piero & Minsky, Hyman P., 1992. "Market processes and thwarting systems," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 79-91, June.
    36. Galbraith, James K., 2012. "Inequality and Instability: A Study of the World Economy Just Before the Great Crisis," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199855650, Decembrie.
    37. Pascal Petit, 2010. "The systemic nature of the rise in inequality in developed economies," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 251-267.
    38. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-01157487 is not listed on IDEAS
    39. Piero Ferri & Anna Maria Variato, 2016. "Income shares, wealth and growth," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 17(2), pages 254-264.
    40. Danny Quah, 1996. "Twin Peaks: Growth and Convergence in Models of Distribution Dynamics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0280, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    41. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2009. "Finance and Inequality: Theory and Evidence," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 287-318, November.
    42. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-01109372 is not listed on IDEAS
    43. David N. Weil, 2015. "Capital and Wealth in the Twenty-First Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 34-37, May.
    44. Erik Berglof & Patrick Bolton, 2002. "The Great Divide and Beyond: Financial Architecture in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 77-100, Winter.
    45. Robert Rowthorn, 2014. "A Note on Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Working Papers wp462, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    46. Piero Ferri & Steve Fazzari & Edward Greenberg & Anna Variato, 2011. "Aggregate Demand, Harrod’s Instability and Fluctuations," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 38(3), pages 209-220, October.
    47. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith Jr., 2015. "Is Piketty's "Second Law of Capitalism" Fundamental?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(4), pages 725-748.
    48. Seven, Unal & Coskun, Yener, 2016. "Does financial development reduce income inequality and poverty? Evidence from emerging countries," Emerging Markets Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 34-63.
    49. Youngna Choi, 2018. "Masked Instability: Within-Sector Financial Risk in the Presence of Wealth Inequality," Risks, MDPI, vol. 6(3), pages 1-15, June.
    50. Thierno Thioune, 2017. "Financial Instability and Inequality Dynamics in the WAEMU," Econometric Research in Finance, SGH Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis, vol. 2(1), pages 43-62, June.
    51. Quah, Danny, 1996. "Twin peaks : growth and convergence in models of distribution dynamics," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2278, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    52. Piero Ferri, 2011. "Macroeconomics of Growth Cycles and Financial Instability," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14260.
    53. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2015. "New Theoretical Perspectives on the Distribution of Income and Wealth among Individuals: Part II: Equilibrium Wealth Distributions," NBER Working Papers 21190, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    54. Stefan Homburg, 2015. "Critical remarks on Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-first Century," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(14), pages 1401-1406, March.
    55. Thomas Hauner, 2020. "Aggregate wealth and its distribution as determinants of financial crises," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 18(3), pages 319-338, September.
    56. Thomas Piketty, 2015. "About Capital in the Twenty-First Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 48-53, May.
    57. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-01053609 is not listed on IDEAS
    58. Jackson, Tim, 2019. "The Post-growth Challenge: Secular Stagnation, Inequality and the Limits to Growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 236-246.
    59. Warren J. Samuels, 1997. "On the Nature and Utility of the Concept of Equilibrium," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 77-88, September.
    60. Fazzari, Steven M. & Ferri, Piero & Greenberg, Edward, 2010. "Investment and the Taylor rule in a dynamic Keynesian model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2010-2022, October.
    61. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
    62. Delli Gatti,Domenico & Fagiolo,Giorgio & Gallegati,Mauro & Richiardi,Matteo & Russo,Alberto (ed.), 2018. "Agent-Based Models in Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781108414999, November.
    63. Pasquale Tridico, 2012. "Financial crisis and global imbalances: its labour market origins and the aftermath," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 36(1), pages 17-42.
    64. Piero Ferri & Annalisa Cristini & Anna Maria Variato, 2019. "Growth, unemployment and heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer;Society for Economic Science with Heterogeneous Interacting Agents, vol. 14(3), pages 573-593, September.
    65. Milanovic, Branko, 2013. "The return of “patrimonial capitalism”: review of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st century," MPRA Paper 52384, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    66. Philip Arestis & Peter Phelps, 2019. "A panel analysis of Brazilian regional inequality," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 51(7), pages 1558-1585, October.
    67. repec:hal:wpspec:info:hdl:2441/30nstiku669glbr66l6n7mc2oq is not listed on IDEAS
    68. Alessandro Vercelli, 2011. "A Perspective on Minsky Moments: Revisiting the Core of the Financial Instability Hypothesis," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(1), pages 49-67.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fischer, Thomas, 2017. "Thomas Piketty and the rate of time preference," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 111-133.
    2. Palagi, Elisa & Napoletano, Mauro & Roventini, Andrea & Gaffard, Jean-Luc, 2023. "An agent-based model of trickle-up growth and income inequality," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    3. Mattauch, Linus & Klenert, David & Stiglitz, Joseph E. & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2022. "Overcoming wealth inequality by capital taxes that finance public investment," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 383-395.
    4. Gianni La Cava, 2016. "Housing prices, mortgage interest rates and the rising share of capital income in the United States," BIS Working Papers 572, Bank for International Settlements.
    5. Lee, Jangyoun, 2021. "Behind rising inequality and falling growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    6. Soon Ryoo, 2018. "Top income shares and aggregate wealth-income ratio in a two-class corporate economy [Growth and distribution in heterodox models with managers and financiers]," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 42(3), pages 699-728.
    7. Gonzalez, Ignacio & Trivin, Pedro, 2019. "The Global Rise of Asset Prices and the Decline of the Labor Share," MPRA Paper 94587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Luigi Bonatti, 2017. "Land, Housing, Growth and Inequality," DEM Working Papers 2017/01, Department of Economics and Management.
    9. Bonnet, Odran & Chapelle, Guillaume & Trannoy, Alain & Wasmer, Etienne, 2021. "Land is back, it should be taxed, it can be taxed," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    10. Herrmann, Sabine & Winkler, Adalbert, 2009. "Real convergence, financial markets, and the current account - Emerging Europe versus emerging Asia," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 100-123, August.
    11. Yashin, Pete, 2020. "Financialization increases inequality and leads economy to a dead end," MPRA Paper 101061, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Luca Zamparelli, 2017. "Wealth Distribution, Elasticity of Substitution and Piketty: An ‘Anti-Dual’ Pasinetti Economy," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(4), pages 927-946, November.
    13. Marisa Civardi & Renata Targetti Lenti, 2018. "Can the link between functional and personal income distribution enhance the analysis of inequality?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 65(2), pages 137-156, June.
    14. Luigi Bonatti, 2016. "Anemic economic growth in advanced economies: structural factors and the impotence of expansionary macroeconomic policies," DEM Working Papers 2016/11, Department of Economics and Management.
    15. Yashin, Pete, 2020. "Финансиалиация Усиливает Неравенство И Заводит Экономику В Тупик [Financialization increases inequality and leads economy to a dead end]," MPRA Paper 101063, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Yasunori Fujita, 2015. "Missing equation in Piketty’s r-g theory," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 57-62.
    17. Henryk Gurgul & Łukasz Lach, 2011. "The impact of regional disparities on economic growth," Operations Research and Decisions, Wroclaw University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Management, vol. 21(2), pages 17-43.
    18. Jian-Xin Wu & Ling-Yun He, 2017. "The Distribution Dynamics of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Intensity across Chinese Provinces: A Weighted Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(1), pages 1-19, January.
    19. Leone Leonida & Leone Leonida & Daniel Montolio, 2003. "Public Capital, Growth and Convergence in Spain. A Counterfactual Density Estimation Approach," Working Papers 2003/3, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    20. Odran Bonnet & Guillaume Flamerie de La Chapelle & Alain Trannoy & Etienne Wasmer, 2019. "Secular Trends in Wealth and Heterogeneous Capital: Land is Back... and Should Be Taxed," Working Papers hal-03570837, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic Inequality; Financial Instability Hypothesis; Endogenous Cycles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

    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:frz:wpaper:wp2021_15.rdf. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Giorgio Ricchiuti (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/defirit.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.