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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.

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

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Length: 37
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:10/268
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  1. Davig, Troy, 2004. "Regime-switching debt and taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 837-859, May.
  2. Romain Ranciere & Aaron Tornell & Frank Westermann, 2005. "Systemic Crises and Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 1451, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. 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.
  4. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper, 2006. "Generalizing the Taylor Principle," Caepr Working Papers 2006-001, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  5. Troy Davig & Eric M. Leeper & Todd B. Walker, 2010. ""Unfunded Liabilities" and Uncertain Fiscal Financing," NBER Working Papers 15782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2006. "Bequest and Tax Planning: Evidence From Estate Tax Returns," NBER Working Papers 12701, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. 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.
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