IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Inequality, Leverage and Crises

  • Romain Ranciere
  • Michael Kumhof

The paper studies how high leverage and crises can arise as a result of changes in the income distribution. Empirically, the periods 1920-1929 and 1983-2008 both exhibited a large increase in the income share of the rich, a large increase in leverage for the remainder, and an eventual financial and real crisis. The paper presents a theoretical model where these features arise endogenously as a result of a shift in bargaining powers over incomes. A financial crisis can reduce leverage if it is very large and not accompanied by a real contraction. But restoration of the lower income group's bargaining power is more effective.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 10/268.

in new window

Length: 37
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/268
Contact details of provider: Postal: International Monetary Fund, Washington, DC USA
Phone: (202) 623-7000
Fax: (202) 623-4661
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2003. "Consumer bankruptcy: a fresh start," Working Papers 617, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Troy A. Davig & Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker, 2010. ""Unfunded liabilities" and uncertain fiscal financing," Research Working Paper RWP 10-09, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  3. Francis, Johanna L., 2009. "Wealth and the capitalist spirit," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 394-408, September.
  4. Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio & Violante, Giovanni L, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Heng-fu Zou, 1995. "The spirit of capitalism and savings behavior," CEMA Working Papers 79, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  6. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
  7. Bulow, Jeremy & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1989. "Sovereign Debt: Is to Forgive to Forget?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 43-50, March.
  8. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: products of common causes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct, pages 131-172.
  10. Cristina Arellano, 2008. "Default Risk and Income Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 690-712, June.
  11. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Marianna Kudlyak & John Mondragon, 2014. "Does Greater Inequality Lead to More Household Borrowing? New Evidence from Household Data," NBER Working Papers 19850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  13. David Benjamin & Mark L. J. Wright, 2009. "Recovery Before Redemption: A Theory Of Delays In Sovereign Debt Renegotiations," CAMA Working Papers 2009-15, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  14. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2007. "Fluctuating Macro Policies and the Fiscal Theory," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 247-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," Discussion Papers 06-001, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  16. Romain Ranciere & Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann, 2002. "Systemic Crises and Growth," Working Papers 190, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  17. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2007. "Bequest and Tax Planning: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1801-1854, November.
  18. Moritz Schularick & Alan M. Taylor, 2012. "Credit Booms Gone Bust: Monetary Policy, Leverage Cycles, and Financial Crises, 1870-2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 1029-61, April.
  19. Thomas Piketty, 2010. "On the long-run evolution of inheritance: France 1820-2050," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564853, HAL.
  20. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2005. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," NBER Working Papers 11874, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Lizarazo, Sandra, 2010. "Default Risk and Risk Averse International Investors," MPRA Paper 20794, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Matteo Iacoviello, 2005. "Household Debt and Income Inequality, 1963-2003," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 629, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 18 Oct 2007.
  23. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2013. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries, 1700-2010," CEPR Discussion Papers 9588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Juillard, Michel & Laxton, Douglas & McAdam, Peter & Pioro, Hope, 1998. "An algorithm competition: First-order iterations versus Newton-based techniques," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(8-9), pages 1291-1318, August.
  25. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
  26. Bordo, Michael D. & Meissner, Christopher M., 2012. "Does inequality lead to a financial crisis?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2147-2161.
  27. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  28. Aguiar, Mark & Gopinath, Gita, 2006. "Defaultable debt, interest rates and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 64-83, June.
  29. Katharine Bradbury & Jane Katz, 2002. "Issues in economics: are lifetime incomes growing more unequal?: looking at new evidence on family income mobility," Regional Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Q 4, pages 2-5.
  30. Athreya, Kartik B., 2002. "Welfare implications of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1567-1595, November.
  31. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  32. Jason DeBacker & Bradley Heim & Vasia Panousi & Shanthi Ramnath & Ivan Vidangos, 2013. "Rising Inequality: Transitory or Persistent? New Evidence from a Panel of U.S. Tax Returns," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 67-142.
  33. Heng-fu Zou, 1995. "'The spirit of capitalism' and long-run growth," CEMA Working Papers 94, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  34. Vivian Z. Yue, 2005. "Sovereign Default and Debt Renegotiation," 2005 Meeting Papers 138, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  35. Adrien Verdelhan & Nicola Borri, 2010. "Sovereign Risk Premia," 2010 Meeting Papers 1122, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  36. Eaton, Jonathan & Gersovitz, Mark, 1981. "Debt with Potential Repudiation: Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(2), pages 289-309, April.
  37. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  38. Davig, Troy, 2004. "Regime-switching debt and taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 837-859, May.
  39. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/268. 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: (Jim Beardow)

or (Hassan Zaidi)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.