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Debt, Boom, Bust: A Theory of Minsky-Veblen Cycles

  • Jakob Kapeller


    (University of Linz, Linz, Austria)

  • Bernhard Schütz


    (Department of Economics, University of Linz, Linz, Austria)

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    This paper reflects on the development leading to the recent crisis and interprets this development as a series of events within a Minsky-Veblen Cycle. To illustrate this claim we introduce conspicuous consumption concerns, as described by Veblen, into a stock flow consistent Post Keynesian model and demonstrate that, under these conditions, a decrease in income equality leads to a corresponding increase in debt-financed consumption demand. Here Minskyian dynamics come into play: increased credit demand leads to a corresponding rise in credit supply, which, eventually, gives rise to a debt-financed consumption boom. As the solvency of households decreases and interest rates move up, banks reduce lending, triggering household bankruptcies and, finally, a recession. What follows is a stable period of consolidation, where past debts are repaid, financial stability is regained and conspicuous consumption motives may gradually take over again. We illustrate this approach to the current crisis and its explanatory validity by extending our stock-flow consistent model into a dynamic simulation.

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    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series Economics working papers with number 2012-14.

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    Length: 34 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:jku:econwp:2012_14
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    1. Thomas I. Palley, 1994. "Debt, Aggregate Demand, and the Business Cycle: An Analysis in the Spirit of Kaldor and Minsky," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 16(3), pages 371-390, April.
    2. Lance Taylor & Stephen A. O'Connell, 1985. "A Minsky Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(Supplemen), pages 871-885.
    3. Amitava Krishna Dutt, 2006. "Maturity, Stagnation And Consumer Debt: A Steindlian Approach," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 339-364, 07.
    4. Marc Lavoie & Wynne Godley, 2000. "Kaleckian Models of Growth in a Stock-Flow Monetary Framework: A Neo-Kaldorian Model," Macroeconomics 0004049, EconWPA.
    5. Heather Boushey & Christian E. Weller, 2006. "Inequality and Household Economic Hardship in the United States of America," Working Papers 18, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
    6. Samuel Bowles & Yongjin Park, 2003. "Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right," Department of Economics University of Siena 409, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    7. repec:oup:restud:v:73:y:2006:i:1:p:163-193 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Till van Treeck, 2012. "Did inequality cause the U.S. financial crisis?," IMK Working Paper 91-2012, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    9. Hein, Eckhard, 2011. "Finance-dominated capitalism, re-distribution, household debt and financial fragility in a Kaleckian distribution and growth model," IPE Working Papers 11/2011, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    10. Eric Tymoigne, 2006. "The Minskyan System, Part III: System Dynamics Modeling of a Stock Flow-Consistent Minskyan Model," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_455, Levy Economics Institute.
    11. David Neumark & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Relative Income Concerns and the Rise in Married Women's Employment," NBER Working Papers 5044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Aldo Barba & Massimo Pivetti, 2009. "Rising household debt: Its causes and macroeconomic implications--a long-period analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 113-137, January.
    13. Amitava Krishna Dutt, 2008. "The Dependence Effect, Consumption and Happiness: Galbraith Revisited," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 527-550.
    14. Romain Ranciere & Nathaniel A. Throckmorton & Michael Kumhof & Claire Lebarz & Alexander W. Richter, 2012. "Income Inequality and Current Account Imbalances," IMF Working Papers 12/8, International Monetary Fund.
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