The Missing Macro Link
Levy Economics Institute of Bard College Working Papers No. 753
25 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2013
Date Written: February 8, 2013
This paper addresses the critique of the aggregational problem attached to the financial instability hypothesis of Hyman Minsky. The core of this critique is based on the Kaleckian analytical framework and, in very broad terms, states that the expenditure of firms for investment is at the same time a source of income for the firms producing capital goods. Hence, even if investments are debt financed, as in Minsky’s analysis, the overall level of indebtedness of the firm sector remains unchanged, since the debts of investing firms are balanced by the income of capital goods-producing firms. According to the critics, Minsky incurs a fallacy of composition when he does not take this dynamic into account when applying his micro analysis of investment at the macro level. The aim of this paper is to clarify the consequences of debt-financed investments over the financial structure of an aggregate economy. Starting from the works of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, we developed a stock-flow consistent analysis of a highly simplified economy under four different financial regimes: (1) debt-financed with no distributed profits, (2) debt-financed with distributed profits, (3) internally financed with no distributed profits, and (4) internally financed with distributed profits. The results of our investigation show that debt-financed investments do not lead to a worsening of the financial position of the firm sector only if specific assumptions are taken into account.
Keywords: Hyman Minsky, Financial Instability Hypothesis, Stock-flow Consistent, Financial Fragility, Debt Financing
JEL Classification: B5, E12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation