Mortgage lending in Boston: interpreting HMDA data
The results of this study indicate that minority applicants, on average, do have greater debt burdens, higher loan-to-value ratios, and weaker credit histories and they are less likely to buy single-family homes than white applicants, and that these disadvantages do account for a large portion of the difference in denial rates. Including the additional information on applicant and property characteristics reduces the disparity between minority and white denials from the originally reported ratio of 2.7 to 1 to roughly 1.6 to 1. But these factors do not wholly eliminate the disparity, since ...
Massachusetts in the 1990s: the role of state government
Why another study of Massachusetts state government? In the past year, two Commissions established by the Governor have submitted reports, nonprofit citizen groups have come forth with lists of suggested reforms, and the legislature has had its own proposals. The goal of the study described here is quite different. Rather than offering solutions to the immediate budget problems, this study examines the major expenditures of state government and the forces that caused them to grow so rapidly in Massachusetts during the 1980s. ; For the most part, the Commonwealth has been spending revenues on ...
The New England-China relationship in 2005
This essay provides an overview of current trade patterns between New England and China. It was prepared for a symposium sponsored by The Boston Athenaeum comparing New England?s present-day trade with China to the region?s prominence in the U.S.-China trade of the 19th century. The essay concludes that a special trade relationship between New England and China does not exist at the present time. Although New England?s exports to China are growing rapidly, they are not growing markedly faster than exports from the rest of the country, and China does not account for an unusually large fraction ...
Small businesses in Springfield, Massachusetts: a look at Latino entrepreneurship
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has been collaborating with community leaders in Springfield, Massachusetts, on exploring revitalization strategies. Latino entrepreneurship is playing an important and increasing role in Springfield's economic development?providing new jobs and services and maintaining storefronts that might otherwise be vacant. An analyst in the Fed's community development unit, Ana Patricia Muoz, has recently completed a discussion paper on this topic, "Small Business in Springfield, Massachusetts: A Look at Latino Entrepreneurship." Among the implications: if Springfield ...
Housing policy and poverty in Springfield
This essay considers whether housing policies may have contributed to the concentration of poverty in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts ? a question that emerged in conversations with local leaders. Springfield is not alone in having large numbers of lower income households living downtown. This pattern is common in American cities. Recent research emphasizes the role of public transportation in causing lower income households to live closer to downtown. However, spillover effects and government policies, including housing policies, have reinforced this tendency. The essay reviews federal ...
The saving mystery, or where did the money go?
Of great concern and puzzlement to many has been the decline in the U.S. personal saving rate. From 8 percent of personal income 20 years ago, saving has fallen to less than 4 percent. This is a matter of concern because saving and investment are closely linked, and investment is believed critical to productivity gains and a rising standard of living. The decline in saving is also a source of puzzlement because it runs counter to many people's perception of what is happening.> This article investigates the decline in saving, focusing on "where the money went." The authors find that rising ...
Real estate and the credit crunch: an overview
In the late 1980s, declining real estate values led to an increase in nonperforming loans, which forced the shrinkage or failure of many banks. Has a "credit crunch" resulted, as many small business representatives insist? This article offers an overview of the Federal Reserve Bank of Bostons 1992 economic conference, which examined the crisis. The first sessions explored the causes of the sharp fluctuations in real estate values and construction activity, and the significance of economic fundamentals, tax and regulatory policy, and speculation. The next two sessions dealt with the ...
National and regional housing patterns
Residential investment is one of the most volatile components of GDP. Coming out of a recession, it is not uncommon for residential investment to jump by more than 20 percent in a year. Going into a recession, it may fall by a similar fraction. Thus, while residential investment accounts for just 4 percent of GDP, it can have a disproportionate influence at critical junctures. Moreover, fluctuations in residential investment can have even greater impact at the regional level. This article compares patterns of residential investment, with a particular emphasis on the similarities and ...
New England approaches the 1990s
Reinvigorating Springfield's economy: lessons from resurgent cities
As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper analyzes the economic development approaches of other mid-sized manufacturing-oriented cities during the past half century. From among a comparison group of 25 municipalities that were similar to Springfield in 1960, the study identifies 10 "resurgent cities" that have made substantial progress in improving living standards for their residents, and that are recognized as vital communities in a broader sense by experts on urban economic ...