The Economic Contributions of Hyman Minsky: Varieties of Capitalism and Institutional Reform
The work of Hyman Minsky represents an important link between Post Keynesians and Institutionalists. This essay begins with a brief summary of Minsky's early work, including his well-known financial instability hypothesis and his policy proposals designed to reform the financial system. It then moves on to discuss other proposals that are less well known, and developed after the publication of his Stabilizing an Unstable Economy (1986) book. One of them in all the work of Minsky is his demand that theory be institution-specific. Because there are a variety of possible types of economies, theory must be appropriate to the specific economy under analysis. His analysis concerned an evolving, developed, big-government capitalist economy with complex and long-lived financial arrangements. His policy recommendations were designed to promote a successful, democratic form of capitalism given these financial arrangements. These policies would have to 'constrain' instability through creation of institutional 'ceilings and floors' while at the same time addressing the behavioral changes induced by reduction of instability. The policies would also have to promote rising living standards, expansion of democratic principles, and enhancement of security for the average household.
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