Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 13, Iss. 4, October, 2009, pp. 423-444
@2009 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Turning Points in Nonlinear Business Cycle Theories, Financial Crisis and the Global 2007-2008 Downturn

Mohammed H.I. Dore, Brock University, St Catharines, ON, Canada
Ragiv V. Singh, Brock University, St Catharines, ON, Canada

Abstract: This paper reviews three nonlinear dynamical business cycle theories of which only one (The Goodwin model) reflects the stylized facts of observed business cycles and has a plausible turning point mechanism. The paper then examines the US (and now global) financial crisis of 2008 and the accompanying downturn in the US. The paper argues that a skewed income distribution could not sustain effective demand and that over the 2001-2006 expansion demand was maintained through massive amounts of credit, with more than 50 percent of sales in the US being maintained through credit. A vector autoregression model confirms the crucial role played by credit. However legislative changes that dismantled the restrictions placed on the financial sector after the crash of 1929 and the consequent structural changes in the financial sector after 1980 enabled the growth of new debt instruments and credit. But overexpansion of credit when profits and house prices were declining in 2005/06 led to a nonlinear shift due to a new realization of the poor quality of some of this debt, namely mortgage backed securities. Bankruptcies, followed by retrenchment at the banks, then led to the bursting of the credit bubble, with the possibility of a severe recession.

Keywords: nonlinear business cycles, turning points, 2008 financial crisis, structural change, vector autoregression, recession