How Financially Fragile can Households Become? Household Borrowing, the Welfare State, and Macroeconomic Resilienc
Mark Setterfield and
No 2022-02, Working Papers from University of Massachusetts Boston, Economics Department
We extend the principles of the Financial Instability Hypothesis (FIH) to the household sector by re-framing the three financial postures associated with the FIH (hedge, speculative, and Ponzi) in the context of households, using a simple model of household borrowing and debt-financing behavior. We also connect our analysis to various strands of research in Comparative Political Economy on credit regimes, the welfare state, and Varieties of Capitalism. Our paper thereby discusses the importance of welfare systems and financial regimes as determinants of household borrowing behavior and hence the financial fragility of the household sector. In so doing it relates to recent US policy debates by demonstrating the macroeconomic consequences of raising taxes on top incomes in order to fund an increase in the social wage. Our results suggest that taxing top incomes to provide social services without accumulating public debt improves macroeconomic resilience and may also improve macroeconomic performance. We therefore uncover some of the values of welfarism that the neoliberal â€˜experimentâ€™ inadvertently revealed by â€˜rolling back the frontiers of the welfare stateâ€™ and in so doing, leading capitalism headlong into the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Keywords: Financial fragility; financial instability hypothesis; household borrowing; household debt; welfare state; macroeconomic resilience (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E12 E44 O41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 39 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fdg, nep-hme and nep-pke
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Working Paper: How Financially Fragile can Households Become? Household Borrowing, the Welfare State, and Macroeconomic Resilience (2022)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mab:wpaper:2022-02
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