Income Distribution, Household Debt and Growth in Modern Financialized Economies
Orsola Costantini and
Journal of Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 54, issue 2, 444-453
We analyze some core features of the institutional transformation of the Canadian and U.S. economies over the last half century, as they became increasingly financialized economies resting on household consumption as the key contributor to economic growth, despite weak growth in real wages and personal disposable income. This growth in consumption spending is highly fragile not only because it is a debt-led growth that has relied on an unsustainable expansion of household indebtedness largely dependent on credit bubbles in the housing market, but also because of the perverse form of this indebtedness. Studied from the angle of disaggregated household consumption/saving behavior, it is the poorest and most vulnerable households who have been building up unsustainable debt, thereby presaging increasing financial fragility and crises.
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