Information and prices
Information problems pervade the economy. This Commentary describes the challenges they create and the clever solutions markets find to overcome them.
Bank branch presence and access to credit in low-to-moderate income neighborhoods
Banks specialize in lending to informationally opaque borrowers by collecting soft information about them. Some researchers claim that this process requires a physical presence in the market to lower information collection costs. The author provides evidence in support of this argument in the mortgage market for low-income borrowers. Mortgage originations increase and interest spreads decline when there is a bank branch located in a low-to-moderate income neighborhood.
The Employability of Returning Citizens Is Key to Neighborhood Revitalization
One problem low-income communities may face in trying to revitalize is dealing with a high share of residents who are returning home after serving prison terms. Returning citizens often concentrate in low-income areas, and they typically lack the education and skills needed to fi nd jobs. This Commentary reviews these and other barriers to employment, estimates the degree of unemployment, and describes some solutions emerging for this population.
Though some programs that were created to promote homeownership in the United States, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have been harshly criticized in the wake of the housing crisis, we are likely to continue to provide some form of taxpayer-funded assistance to those who would become homeowners. Historically, assistance has taken the form of either interest rate or down-payment subsidies, but recent research suggests that down-payment subsidies are much more effective. They create successful homeowners?homeowners who keep their homes?at a lower cost.
Financial system structure and economic development: structure matters
This paper investigates how the structure of a financial system-whether it is bank- or market-oriented-affects economic growth. In contrast to earlier research, which indicated that the financial system's structure is irrelevant for growth, the author finds that countries grow faster when they have a flexible judicial system and more market-oriented financial systems.
Bank seasoned equity offers: do voluntary and involuntary offers differ?
Recent research has shown that for industrial and utilities? seasoned equity offers (SEOs) the offer price discount is informative and has significant price effects. We examine whether the offer price discount for SEOs made by undercapitalized banks is different from those made by banks that were already overcapitalized prior to issue announcement. The former are labeled "involuntary" issues, and the latter "voluntary." Voluntary issues are likely made by opportunistic managers at times when their stock is overvalued. Prior research has argued and provided evidence suggesting that for ...
Statistical models that estimate 12-month-ahead recession probabilities using the term spread have been around for many years. However, the reliability of the term spread as a predictor may have been affected by short-term interest rates being at zero. At the zero lower bound, long-term yields cannot go too far into negative territory due to the portfolio constraints of institutional investors. Therefore, the yield curve may not invert when it should or as much as it should despite the anticipated path of the economy. I enhance the simple model with two variables that should have predictive ...
Sovereign Default in the US
In the absence of a judicial mechanism to reduce the debt burden of a sovereign member of our Union, the resolution process can be quick but perhaps too indifferent to the health, safety, and welfare of the affected residents. In this paper, I use evidence from the Arkansas state archives to provide a description of the events surrounding the default of the state in 1933. I examine the evolution of the negotiations, the outcomes, and the role of fiscal policy.
Systemic banking crises
Systemic banking crises can have devastating effects on the economies of developing or industrialized countries. This Policy Discussion Paper reviews the factors that weaken banking systems and make them more susceptible to crises.
Effective practices in crisis resolution and the case of Sweden
The current financial crisis is a painful reminder that the developed world is not yet immune to these devastating shocks. But while we haven?t learned to prevent them, we have learned some lessons about what is necessary to contain them once they begin and to limit the damage that follows. As policymakers worldwide focus on resolving the current financial crisis, they might look to Sweden as a useful model for effective strategies.