The mere mention of a “Minsky moment” is enough to send shudders through policy makers

The theory stems from the work of Hyman Minsky, a US economist who specialized in how excessive borrowing fuels financial instability. Sky-high debt levels around the world, coupled with towering financial market valuations, have kept Minsky’s theory prominent, drawing warnings from the International Monetary Fund and others. 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen once described his work as “required reading.”

1. What makes a Minsky moment?

The term refers to the end stage of a prolonged period of economic prosperity that has encouraged investors to take on excessive risk, to the point where lending exceeds what borrowers can pay off. 

2. Have there been Minsky moments?

Yes. In 1998, following the bursting of asset bubbles in Asia, Russia defaulted on its domestic debt and devalued the ruble. 

(It was during that crisis that Paul McCulley, then an economist at Pacific Investment Management Co., coined the term “Minsky moment.”) 

The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 is considered another Minsky moment, since it was caused by the implosion of the US subprime mortgage market.

Enda Curran Bloomberg 21 mars 2023

Markets are facing a potential ‘Minsky moment’ collapse, strategist says

Hyman Minsky

Paul McCulley


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