Faculty of Economics and Business Administration Publications Database

Inequality and imbalances: a monetary union agent-based model

Cardaci, A.
Saraceno, Francesco
Volume: 29
Number: 3
Pages: 853 - 890
Month: April
ISSN-Print: 0936-9937
Link External Source: Online Version
Year: 2019
Keywords: Inequality; Current account; Currency union; Agent-based model

Our paper investigates the impact of rising inequality in a two-country macroeconomic model with an agent-based household sector characterized by peer effects in consumption. In particular, the model highlights the role of inequality in determining diverging balance of payments dynamics within a currency union. Inequality may drive the two countries into different growth patterns: where peer effects in consumption interact with higher credit availability, rising income inequality leads to the emergence of a debt-led growth. Where social norms determine weaker emulation and credit availability is lower, an export-led regime arises. Eventually, a crisis emerges endogenously due to the sudden-stop of capital flows from the net lending country, triggered by the excessive risk associated with the dramatic amount of private debt accumulated by households in the borrowing country. Monte Carlo simulations for a wide range of calibrations confirm the robustness of our results.