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Author:Amromin, Eugene 

Conference Paper
Transforming payment choices by doubling fees on the Illinois Tollway
On January 1, 2005, Illinois doubled the highway toll for travelers paying with cash, but kept the price unchanged for those paying electronically. This paper combines a theoretical model of payment choice with empirical analysis based on this rare natural experiment of differential pricing depending on the method of payment: cash versus electronic payment. An actual response to a price change allows the authors to estimate the sensitivity of consumer payment demand to prices.
AUTHORS: Jankowski, Carrie; Porter, Richard D.; Amromin, Eugene
DATE: 2005

Journal Article
Household Inequality and the Consumption Response to Aggregate Real Shocks
The drop in output and consumption that occurred during the Great Recession has been large and prolonged. Figure 1 displays per capita U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) and personal consumption expenditures (PCE) between 1985 and 2016 and highlights the large drop in both consumption and output that occurred starting in 2007 and its parallel shift compared with the previous trend. In this article, we ask why consumption has dropped so much and has been recovering so slowly. We also ask to what extent household inequality before and after the Great Recession interacted with the recession itself to generate such a large and persistent drop in consumption.
AUTHORS: Amromin, Eugene; Schulze, Karl; De Nardi, Mariacristina
DATE: 2018

Journal Article
Economic Perspectives special issue on payments fraud: an introduction
This article provides an overview of this special issue of Economic Perspectives, which presents selected papers based on the proceedings of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's eighth annual Payments Conference, Payments Fraud: Perception Versus Reality, held on June 5?6, 2008.
AUTHORS: Amromin, Eugene; Porter, Richard D.
DATE: 2009

Journal Article
Transforming payment choices by doubling fees on the Illinois Tollway
Using data from the Illinois Tollway, the authors study the effectiveness of a particular application of pricing incentives, in conjunction with a mass-marketing campaign, to foster adoption of electronic toll collection. Dissecting the consumer response by income level, the authors reveal interesting heterogeneity of consumer payment choice in this environment.
AUTHORS: Amromin, Eugene; Jankowski, Carrie; Porter, Richard D.
DATE: 2007

Journal Article
Comparing patterns of default among prime and subprime mortgages
This article compares default patterns among prime and subprime mortgages, analyzes the factors correlated with default, and examines how forecasts of defaults are affected by alternative assumptions about trends in home prices. The authors find that extremely pessimistic forecasts of home price appreciation could have generated predictions of subprime defaults that were closer to the actual default experience for loans originated in 2006 and 2007. However, for prime loans one would have also had to anticipate that defaults would become much more sensitive to home prices.
AUTHORS: Amromin, Eugene; Paulson, Anna L.
DATE: 2009

Journal Article
Homebuilders, Affiliated Financing Arms and the Mortgage Crisis
The authors? findings indicate that homebuilder financing affiliates do make loans to observably riskier borrowers, but the loans made by homebuilders have lower delinquency rates than those made by unaffiliated lenders, even when loan and borrower characteristics are held constant.
AUTHORS: Agarwal, Sumit; Amromin, Eugene; Gartenberg, Claudine; Paulson, Anna L.; Villupuram, Sriram
DATE: 2014

Conference Paper
Expectations of risk and return among household investors: Are their Sharpe ratios countercyclical?
Data obtained from special questions on the Michigan Survey of Consumer Attitudes are used to analyze stock market beliefs and portfolio choices of household investors. We find that expected risk and return are strongly influenced by economic prospects. When investors believe macroeconomic conditions are more expansionary, they tend to expect both higher returns and lower volatility. This implies that household Sharpe ratios are procyclical, which is inconsistent with the view that stock market returns should compensate investors for exposure to macroeconomic risks. The finding of procyclical expected returns holds up when we instead condition on conventional business cycle proxies such as the dividend yield and the consumption-wealth ratio. We further find that perceived risk in equity returns (though not the expected returns themselves) is strongly influenced by household investor characteristics, consistent with documented behavioral biases. The relevance of investor expectations is supported by the finding that the proportion of equity holdings in respondent portfolios tends to be higher for those who report higher expected returns and lower uncertainty.
AUTHORS: Amromin, Eugene; Sharpe, Steven A.
DATE: 2009

Working Paper
Market-based loss mitigation practices for troubled mortgages following the financial crisis
The meltdown in residential real-estate prices that commenced in 2006 resulted in unprecedented mortgage delinquency rates. Until mid-2009, lenders and servicers pursued their own individual loss mitigation practices without being significantly influenced by government intervention. Using a unique dataset that precisely identifies loss mitigation actions, we study these methods?liquidation, repayment plans, loan modification, and refinancing?and analyze their effectiveness. We show that the majority of delinquent mortgages do not enter any loss mitigation program or become a part of foreclosure proceedings within 6 months of becoming distressed. We also find that it takes longer to complete foreclosures over time, potentially due to congestion. We further document large heterogeneity in practices across servicers, which is not accounted for by differences in borrower population. ; Consistent with the idea that securitization induces agency conflicts, we confirm that the likelihood of modification of securitized loans is up to 70% lower relative to portfolio loans. Finally, we find evidence that affordability (as opposed to strategic default due to negative equity) is the prime reason for redefault following modifications. While modification terms are more favorable for weaker borrowers, greater reductions in mortgage payments and/or interest rates are associated with lower redefault rates. Our regression estimates suggest that a 1 percentage point decline in mortgage interest rate is associated with a nearly 4 percentage point decline in default probability. This finding is consistent with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) focus on improving mortgage affordability.
AUTHORS: Agarwal, Sumit; Evanoff, Douglas D.; Chomsisengphet, Souphala; Amromin, Eugene; Ben-David, Itzhak
DATE: 2011

Working Paper
Transforming payment choices by doubling fees on the Illinois tollway
Rising traffic congestion and the need to improve operational efficiency prompted the Illinois Tollway Authority to unveil plans to reconfigure its road network for ?stop-free? electronic toll collection. Committing to an extensive construction program would have required the Tollway to ensure that enough drivers had electronic payment devices (branded as I- PASS). Conversely, without reconfigured toll gates the drivers would have had less reason to own an I-PASS. To resolve this potentially thorny chicken-and-egg problem, the Tollway put in place a new I-PASS distribution network and then dramatically raised the price for cash toll payments. This paper focuses on consumer response to the change in relative prices. Using tollway traffic data, we document a substantial aggregate increase in electronic toll payments. The propensity to pay electronically rose uniformly throughout the day, reflecting the effectiveness of the Tollway?s actions in modifying behavior of both commuters and leisure drivers. ; However, not all drivers appear to have responded to the price change per se. To analyze the relative importance of price, income, and fixed participation costs we use the Census tract level data on employment and residential location to construct a ZIP-code measure of the likelihood of commuting to work via the tollway. Conditional on this measure, we show that the adoption of electronic payments among lower-income households was indeed influenced by the price change. In contrast, high- and medium-income households responded to lower fixed costs of obtaining I-PASS at conveniently located supermarkets. Finally, we document the role of social network relationships, as changes in I-PASS ownership for all income groups were strongly affected by I-PASS use among neighbors and co- workers.
AUTHORS: Jankowski, Carrie; Porter, Richard D.; Amromin, Eugene
DATE: 2006

Working Paper
How did the 2003 dividend tax cut affect stock prices?
We test the hypothesis that the 2003 dividend tax cut boosted U.S. stock prices and thus lowered the cost of equity. Using an event- study methodology, we attempt to identify an aggregate stock market effect by comparing the behavior of U.S. common stock prices to that of European stocks and real estate investment trusts. We also examine the relative cross-sectional response of prices on high-dividend versus low-dividend paying stocks. We do not find any imprint of the dividend tax cut news on the value of the aggregate U.S. stock market. On the other hand, high-dividend stocks outperformed low-dividend stocks by a few percentage points over the event windows, suggesting that the tax cut did induce asset reallocation within equity portfolios. Finally, the positive abnormal returns on non-dividend paying U.S. stocks in 2003 do not appear to be tied to tax-cut news.
AUTHORS: Sharpe, Steven A.; Harrison, Paul; Amromin, Eugene
DATE: 2006


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