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Inequality and finance in a rent economy

Alberto Botta (), Eugenio Caverzasi, Alberto Russo, Mauro Gallegati () and Joseph Stiglitz

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2021, vol. 183, issue C, 998-1029

Abstract: This paper offers a contribution to the understanding of the interactions between finance, instability and inequality. We investigate the ways income and wealth inequality may have influenced the development of modern financial systems in those advanced economies (such as the US) in which securitization (emblematic of the more general class of complex structured financial products) has played an important role, and how those financial systems have in turn affected income and wealth distribution. We do this by elaborating on a hybrid Agent-Based Stock-Flow-Consistent (AB-SFC) macroeconomic model, encompassing heterogeneous (i.e. households) and aggregate sectors. Our findings suggest that while higher levels of credit supply coming with securitization may lead in the short run to higher economic growth, it comes at a price: a more unequal and financially and economically unstable economic system. The model is able to reproduce some stylized facts related to credit cycles, including the relationship between non-performing loans (NPLs) and GDP growth and the evolution of income inequality during crises. Moreover, we perform a battery of policy experiments and find that a lower and more progressive taxation on households’ income combined with a tax on financial profits may reduce inequality, preserve financial stability, and boost economic growth.

Date: 2021
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Working Paper: Inequality and finance in a rent economy (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Inequality and finance in a rent economy (2018) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.02.013

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:183:y:2021:i:c:p:998-1029