Economists’ principal explanations of the subprime crisis differ from those developed by noneconomists in that the latter see it as rooted in the US legacy of racial/ethnic inequality, and especially in racial residential segregation, whereas the former ignore race. This paper traces this disjuncture to two sources. What is missing in the social science view is any attention to the market mechanisms involved in subprime lending; and economists, on their side, have drawn too tight a boundary for “the economic,” focusing on market mechanisms per se,to the exclusion of the households and community whose resources and outcomes these mechanisms affect. Economists’ extensive empirical studies of racial redlining and discrimination in credit markets have, ironically, had the effect of making race analytically invisible. Because of these explanatory lacunae, two defining aspects of the subprime crisis have not been well explained. First, why were borrowers that had previously been excluded from equal access to mortgage credit instead super included in subprime lending? Second, why didn’t the flood of mortgage brokers that accompanied the 2000s housing boom reduce the proportion of minority borrowers who were burdened with costly and ultimately unpayable mortgages? This paper develops a mesoanalysis to answer the first of these questions. This analysis traces the coevolution of banking strategies and client communities, shaped by and reinforcing patterns of racial/ethnic inequality. The second question is answered by showing how unequal power relations impacted patterns of subprime lending. Consequences for gender inequality in credit markets are also briefly discussed.
We construct estimates of the Levy Institute Measure of Economic Well-Being for Great Britain for the years 1995 and 2005. We also produce estimates of the official British measures HBAI (from the Department for Work and Pensions annual report titled “Households below Average Income”) and ROI (from the Office of National Statistics Redistribution of Income analysis). We analyze overall trends in the level and distribution of household well-being using all three measures for Great Britain as a whole and for subgroups of the British population. Gains in household economic well-being between 1995 and 2005 vary by the measure used, from 23 percent (HBAI) to 32 percent (LIMEW) and 35 percent (ROI). LIMEW shows that much of the middle class’s gain in well-being was as a result of increases in government expenditures. LIMEW also marks a greater increase in economic well-being among elderly households due to the increase in their net worth. The redistributive effect of net government expenditures decreased notably between 1995 and 2005 according to the official measures, primarily due to the change in the distributive impact of government expenditures.
Recent episodes of housing bubbles, which occurred in several economies after the burst of the United States housing market, suggest studying the evolution of housing prices from a global perspective. We utilize a theoretical model for the purposes of this contribution, which identifies the main drivers of housing price appreciation—for example, income, residential investment, financial elements, fiscal policy, and demographics. In the second stage of our analysis, we test our theoretical hypothesis by means of a sample of 18 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries from 1970 to 2011. We employ the vector error correction econometric technique in terms of our empirical analysis. This allows us to model the long-run equilibrium relationship and the short-run dynamics, which also helps to account for endogeneity and reverse-causality problems.
Schumpeter, a century ago, argued that boom-and-bust cycles are intrinsically related to the functioning of a capitalistic economy. These cycles, inherent to the rise of innovation, are an unavoidable consequence of the way in which markets evolve and assimilate successive technological revolutions. Furthermore, Schumpeter’s analysis stressed the fundamental role played by finance in fostering innovation, in defining bank credit as the “monetary complement” of innovation. Nevertheless, we feel that the connection between innovation and firm financing has seldom been examined from a theoretical standpoint, not only by economists in general, but even within the Neo-Schumpeterian research line. Our paper aims at analyzing both the long-term structural change process triggered by innovation and the related financial dynamics inside the coherent framework provided by the stock-flow consistent (SFC) approach. The model presents a multisectoral economy composed of consumption and capital goods industries, a banking sector, and two household sectors: capitalists and wage earners. The SFC approach helps us to track the flows of funds resulting from the rise of innovators in the system. The dynamics of prices, employment, and wealth distribution among the different sectors and social groups is analyzed. Above all, the essential role of finance in fostering innovation and its interaction with the real economy is underlined.
The objective of this paper is to analyze the implications of these changes in operational procedures for our understanding of monetary theory. The evolution of the operating procedures of the Federal Reserve since August 2007 is taken as an exemplar. The American case is particularly interesting, both because it was at the center of the financial crisis and because the US monetary system and its federal funds rate market are the main sources of theorizing in monetary economics.
This paper provides a critical analysis of expansionary austerity theory (EAT). The focus is on the theoretical weaknesses of EAT—the extreme circumstances and fragile assumptions under which expansionary consolidations might actually take place. The paper presents a simple theoretical model that takes inspiration from both the post-Keynesian and evolutionary/institutionalist traditions. First, it demonstrates that well-designed austerity measures hardly trigger short-run economic expansions in the context of expected long-lasting consolidation plans (i.e., when adjustment plans deal with remarkably high debt-to-GDP ratios), when the so-called “financial channel” is not operative (i.e., in the context of monetarily sovereign economies), or when the degree of export responsiveness to internal devaluation is low. Even in the context of non–monetarily sovereign countries (e.g., members of the eurozone), austerity’s effectiveness crucially depends on its highly disputable capacity to immediately stabilize fiscal variables.
The global financial crisis shattered the conventional wisdom about how financial markets work and how to regulate them. Authorities intervened to stop the panic—short-term pragmatism that spoke volumes about the robustness of mainstream economics. However, their very success in taming the collapse reduced efforts to radically change the “big bank” business model and lessened the possibility of serious banking reform—meaning that a strong and possibly even bigger financial crisis is inevitable in the future. We think an overall alternative is needed and at hand: Minsky’s theories on investment, financial stability, the growing weight of the financial sector, and the role of the state. Building on this legacy, it is possible to analyze which aspects of the post-2008 reforms actually work. In this respect, we argue that the only effective solution is to impose a global cap on the absolute size of banks.
Coauthors L. Randall Wray and �ric Tymoigne argue that the current financial crisis, which began with the collapse of the US subprime mortgage market in 2007, provides a compelling reason to show how Minsky’s approach offers us a solid grounding in the workings of financial capitalism. They examine Minsky’s extension to Keynes’s investment theory of the business cycle, which allowed Minsky to analyze the evolution, over time, of the modern capitalist economy toward fragility—what is well known as his financial instability hypothesis. They then update Minsky’s approach to finance with a more detailed examination of asset pricing and the evolution of the banking sector, and conclude with a brief review of the insights that such an approach can provide for analysis of the current global financial crisis.
This paper attempts to explain one version of an empirical puzzle noted by Mankiw (2003): a Baumol-Tobin inventory-theoretic money demand equation predicts that the average adult American should have held approximately $551.05 in currency and coin in 1995, while data show an average of $100. The models in this paper help explain this discrepancy using two assumptions: (1) the probabilities of being robbed or pick-pocketed, or having a purse snatched, depend on the amount of cash held; and (2) there are costs of being robbed other than loss of cash, such as injury, medical bills, lost time at work, and trauma. Two models are presented: a dynamic, stochastic model with both instantaneous and decaying noncash costs of robbery, and a revised version of the inventory-theoretic model that includes one-period noncash costs. The former model yields an easily interpreted first-order condition for money demand involving various marginal costs and benefits of holding cash. The latter model gives quantitative solutions for money demand that come much closer to matching the 1995 data—$75.98 for one plausible set of parameters. This figure implies that consumers held approximately $96 billion less cash in May 1995 than they would have in a world without crime. The modified Baumol-Tobin model predicts a large increase in household money demand in 2005, mostly due to reduced crime rates.
This paper contrasts the economic incentives implicit in the Keynes-Minsky approachto inherent financial market instability with the incentives behind the traditionalequilibrium approach leading to market stability to provide a framework for analyzingthe stability induced by the recent changes in bank regulation to modernize financialservices and the evolution of financial engineering innovations in the US financialsystem. It suggests that the changes that have occurred in the profit incentivesfor bank holding companies have modified the provision of liquidity to the financialsystem by banks, and the way credit assessment has moved from banks to otheractors in the system. It takes the current experience in financial instabilitycreated by the expansion, through securitization, of the mortgage market as anexample of these changes.
In a series of articles and books, Harold Vatter and John Walker attempted to make the case that the American economy suffers from chronically insufficient demand that leads to growth below capacity. Of particular interest are a 1989 Journal of Post Keynesian Economics article that extends Domar's work on the supply side effects of investment spending and a 1997 book that provides a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the US "mixed" economy. Their analysis of secular growth complements the well-known writings of Hyman Minsky, who also emphasized the role of the "big government" and the "big bank" in stabilizing an unstable economy over the cycle. This article will summarize, provide support for, and extend the Vatter and Walker approach, concluding with an examination of some of the dangers facing the US economy today. As appropriate, the ideas of Minsky will be used to supplement the argument.