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Debt, boom, bust: a theory of Minsky-Veblen cycles

Jakob Kapeller () and Bernhard Schütz

Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 2014, vol. 36, issue 4, 781-814

Abstract: This article reflects on the economic development leading to the recent crisis and interprets this development as a series of events within a Minsky-Veblen cycle. To illustrate this claim we introduce conspicuous consumption concerns, as described by Veblen, into a stock-flow-consistent post Keynesian model and demonstrate that, under these conditions, a decrease in income equality leads to a corresponding increase in debt-financed consumption demand. Here Minskian dynamics come into play: if perceived economic stability causes banks' margins of safety to decrease sufficiently, increased credit demand is accommodated by credit supply giving rise to a debt-financed consumption boom. As the solvency of households decreases and interest rates move up, banks reduce lending, triggering household bankruptcies and, finally, a recession. What follows is a stable period of consolidation, where past debts are repaid, financial stability is regained and conspicuous consumption motives may gradually take over again. We illustrate this approach to the current crisis and its explanatory validity by extending our stock-flow-consistent model into a dynamic simulation.

Date: 2014
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Working Paper: Debt, Boom, Bust: A Theory of Minsky-Veblen Cycles (2012) Downloads
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