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Income inequality, consumer debt, and prudential regulation: An agent-based approach to study the emergence of crises and financial instability

Paola D'Orazio

Economic Modelling, 2019, vol. 82, issue C, 308-331

Abstract: The paper presents an agent-based model to study the interaction between income inequality and prudential regulations in a macroeconomic framework characterized by consumer debt. Simulation results show that income inequality is detrimental to both macro and financial stability as it leads to higher credit demands, higher unemployment rates, economic volatility, and financial fragility. Besides the importance of consumers' leveraging, deleveraging externalities are found to be equally important for the emergence of crises and financial fragility because of the liquidity risk they entail. Minsky moments are also observed; they are related to consumers' prudential behavior and their beliefs about the macroeconomic conditions. Concerning the policy relevance of our investigation, simulations allow us to highlight that the effectiveness of prudential regulation depends on the phase of the business cycle and that there is not a “one-size-fits-all” regulation. This study emphasizes that regulatory constraints should take into account the features of the economic agents, such as the distribution of income and their willingness to borrow, in addition to the features of the financial sector.

Keywords: Agent-based modeling; Banking regulation; Household debt; Financial fragility; Income inequality; Minsky moments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D14 D31 E32 E44 G01 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2019.01.015

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