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The role of income inequality in crisis theories and in the subprime crisis

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  • Thomas Goda

Abstract

An increasing number of economists argue that income inequality was a root cause behind the subprime crisis of 2007. The aim of this paper is to outline and contrast the theoretical underpinnings of Marxian, Post Keynesian and mainstream crisis theories and to compare their viewpoints regarding the role that inequality plays. The main finding of this paper is that despite important theoretical differences, economists from all three strands provide a similar explanation for the link between inequality and the subprime crisis (even though conventional mainstream crisis theories do not regard inequality as destabilizing factor). This suggests that the rise in income inequality indeed played an important role in the build-up of the crisis. To ensure that a wider audience accepts inequality as a prominent causal factor for the crisis it is however necessary that the negative effects of wealth concentration are also taken into account.

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  • Thomas Goda, 2013. "The role of income inequality in crisis theories and in the subprime crisis," Working Papers PKWP1305, Post Keynesian Economics Society (PKES).
  • Handle: RePEc:pke:wpaper:pkwp1305
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    3. Bruce E. Kaufman, 2018. "How Capitalism Endogenously Creates Rising Income Inequality and Economic Crisis: The Macro Political Economy Model of Early Industrial Relations," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(1), pages 131-173, January.
    4. Ji-Won Park & Chae Un Kim, 2020. "Getting to a feasible income equality," Papers 2011.09119, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2021.
    5. Dilip M. Nachane, 2018. "The Global Crisis According to Post-Keynesians," India Studies in Business and Economics, in: Critique of the New Consensus Macroeconomics and Implications for India, chapter 0, pages 205-220, Springer.
    6. Mohammad Zulfan Tadjoeddin, 2016. "Earnings, productivity and inequality in Indonesia," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 27(2), pages 248-271, June.
    7. Mohammad Zulfan Tadjoeddin & Athia Yumna & Sarah E. Gultom & M. Fajar Rakhmadi & Asep Suryahadi, 2021. "Inequality and violent conflict: new evidence from selected provinces in Post-Soeharto Indonesia," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 552-573, July.
    8. D'Orazio, Paola, 2019. "Income inequality, consumer debt, and prudential regulation: An agent-based approach to study the emergence of crises and financial instability," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 308-331.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income inequality; crisis theories; subprime crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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