IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Minsky Moments, Russell Chickens, and Gray Swans--The Methodological Puzzles of the Financial Instability Analysis


  • Alessandro Vercelli


The recent revival of Hyman P. Minsky's ideas among policymakers, economists, bankers, financial institutions, and the mass media, synchronized with the increasing gravity of the subprime financial crisis, demands a reappraisal of the meaning and scope of the "financial instability hypothesis" (FIH). We argue that we need a broader approach than that conventionally pursued, in order to understand not only financial crises but also the periods of financial calm between them and the transition from stability to instability. In this paper we aim to contribute to this challenging task by restating the strictly financial part of the FIH on the basis of a generalization of Minsky's taxonomy of economic units. In light of this restatement, we discuss a few methodological issues that have to be clarified in order to develop the FIH in the most promising direction.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Vercelli, 2009. "Minsky Moments, Russell Chickens, and Gray Swans--The Methodological Puzzles of the Financial Instability Analysis," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_582, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_582

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carl Chiarella & Roberto Dieci & Xue-Zhong He, 2008. "Heterogeneity, Market Mechanisms, and Asset Price Dynamics," Research Paper Series 231, Quantitative Finance Research Centre, University of Technology, Sydney.
    2. Philip Arestis, 2002. "Financial crisis in Southeast Asia: dispelling illusion the Minskyan way," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 237-260, March.
    3. Claude Gnos & Louis-Philippe Rochon, 2011. "Credit, Money and Macroeconomic Policy. A Post Keynesian Approach," Post-Print halshs-01231787, HAL.
    4. Paul Davidson, 2008. "Is the current financial distress caused by the subprime mortgage crisis a Minsky moment? or is it the result of attempting to securitize illiquid noncommercial mortgage loans?," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 669-676, July.
    5. Vercelli,Allessandro, 1991. "Methodological Foundations of Macroeconomics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521392945, March.
    6. Desai, Meghnad, 1973. "Growth cycles and inflation in a model of the class struggle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(6), pages 527-545, December.
    7. Jan Toporowski, 2008. "Minsky's 'induced investment and business cycles'," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(5), pages 725-737, September.
    8. Sordi, Serena & Vercelli, Alessandro, 2006. "Financial fragility and economic fluctuations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 543-561, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Financial Instability; Financial Fragility; Financial Fluctuations; Subprime Crisis; Minsky Moments; Minsky Meltdown; Speculative Units; Hedge Units; Ponzi Units; Business Cycles;

    JEL classification:

    • B50 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - General
    • E - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • G - Financial Economics

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:lev:wrkpap:wp_582. 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: (Elizabeth Dunn). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.