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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Household Debt in the Age of Permanent Austerity

Daniel Mertens

Against the background of a financial crisis that is expanding into a fiscal and political crisis, governments in many industrialized countries are trying to achieve rapid and "growth-friendly" budget consolidation. By referring to the successful consolidation processes in the late 1990s, such policy recommendations focus predominantly on spending-based adjustments. But while numerous countries were able to reduce their public debt levels considerably in the decade before the financial crisis, private household debt rose continuously. This dissertation project examines the politico-economic relation between public and private debt as well as how debt has been influenced by regulatory, economic, and cultural developments in recent decades. Applying detailed process analyses and making use of both qualitative and quantitative data, it aims to reconstruct debt trajectories in Germany in a comparative perspective. Project duration: October 2011 to March 2014.
Mertens, Daniel, 2014: Pensionsfonds-Kapitalismus und privatisierter Keynesianismus - Zur Finanzialisierung privater Haushalte (mit Richard Meyer-Eppler). In: Marcel Heires/Andreas Nölke (Hg.), Politische Ökonomie der Finanzialisierung. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 259-274 (im Erscheinen).
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