Regressive Welfare Effects of Housing Bubbles
Abstract: We analyze the welfare effects of asset bubbles in a model with income inequality and financial friction. We show that a bubble that emerges in the value of housing, a durable asset that is fundamentally useful for everyone, has regressive welfare effects. By raising the housing price, the bubble benefits high-income savers but negatively affects low-income borrowers. The key intuition is that, by creating a bubble in the market price, savers' demand for the housing asset for investment purposes imposes a negative externality on borrowers, who only demand the housing asset for utility purposes. The model also implies a feedback loop: high income inequality depresses the interest rates, facilitating the existence of housing bubbles, which in turn have regressive welfare effects.
File format is application/pdf
Description: Full text
Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
Part of Series: Working Paper
Publication Date: 2018-04-18
Pages: 32 pages