My Research

My research takes two broad tracks:

The first topic – and subject of my first two books – holds that households and banks have increasingly displaced non-financial businesses and governments as the primary debtors in modern capitalist economies. This shift is important, but how? My early research suggested that changes in capital allocation have caused rising domestic and international inequality and more severe economic fluctuations. Subsequent work with Aidan Regan and Alison Johnston showed that housing price fluctuations have been crucial to the expansion of wealth inequality in rich countries.

In the process of following household-derived financial products, I became aware that there was a tremendous under-appreciation of the degree to which financial flows affect countries’ external balances. For generations, there has been a tacit agreement that international financial flows are determined by the current account balance – effectively that the current account clears “first.” So there is a second track in my research, explored in a recent piece in New Political Economy, argues that economists and policymakers systematically underplay the role of capital flows in driving current account imbalances. The upshot of this argument is that capital outflows from large savers (like Germany) are just as destabilizing as over-borrowing in places like Greece.

Broadly speaking, all of my research is (1) generally focused on empirically puzzles relevant to both academia and policymakers, (2) fundamentally interdisciplinary, drawing from literature and traditions in Political Science, Economics, and Sociology, and (3) methodologically eclectic, deploying a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches.

A partial list of publications (with links where possible) is below:

The Political Economy of Housing FinancializationAgenda Publishing, 2019

Housing Prices and Wealth Inequality in Western Europe,” with Alison Johnston and Aidan Regan, West European Politics, 2019

Exporting Assets: EMU and the Financial Drivers of European Macroeconomic Imbalances,” New Political Economy, 2018

Financial Integration and the National State,” with Erik Jones in Reconfiguring European States in Crisis,” edited by Desmond King and Patrick Le Galès, Oxford University Press, 2017

The Great Debt Transformation: Households, Financialization, and Policy Responses, Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.

Who’s Borrowing? Credit Encouragement vs. Credit Mitigation in National Financial Systems,”  Politics & Society, 2015

Destructive Creation: The Unintended Consequences of the Rise of Finance,” dissertation awarded pass with distinction.

European Macroeconomic Governance,” with Erik Jones, in European Union Power and Policymaking, edited by Jeremy Richardson.  4th Edition. Routledge, 2015.

Europe and the Global Economic Crisis,” with Erik Jones, in Europe Today, edited by Ronald Tiersky and Erik Jones. 5th Edition. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

The 2007-2008 Financial Crisis: Does the EU Matter?Bologna Center Journal of International Affairs, 12 (Spring), 2009.

Numerous contributions to the EU Center of Excellence “Business Briefs” series.


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