Working Paper

Social Capital and Mortgages

Abstract: Using comprehensive mortgage-level data, we discover that the social capital of the community in which households live positively influences the likelihood of the approval of their mortgage applications, the terms of approved mortgages, and the subsequent performance of those mortgages. The results hold when conditioning on extensive household and community characteristics and a battery of fixed effects, including individual effects, data permitting, and when employing instrumental variables and propensity score matching to address identification and selection concerns. Concerning causal mechanisms, evidence suggests that social capital enhances lender screening and monitoring of borrowers and increases the social costs to borrowers of defaulting on their debts.

Keywords: consumer credit; mortgage approval; screening; loan performance; social capital; interpersonal connections; trust; banks; fintech;

JEL Classification: G01; G28; D10; D12; E58;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2023-10-12

Number: 23-23