House Price Booms, Then and Now
House prices rose rapidly in the run-up to the crash of 2007, but not everywhere. Understanding why can help us prepare for future recessions.
Debt dilution and seniority in a model of defaultable sovereign debt
An important ineffciency in sovereign debt markets is debt dilution, wherein sovereigns ignore the adverse impact of new debt on the value of existing debt and, consequently, borrow too much and default too frequently. A widely proposed remedy is the inclusion of seniority clause in sovereign debt contracts: Creditors who lent first have priority in any restructuring proceedings. We incorporate seniority in a quantitatively realistic model of sovereign debt and find that seniority is quite effective in mitigating the dilution problem. We also show theoretically that seniority cannot be fully ...
Do supply restrictions raise the value of urban land? The (neglected) role of production externalities
Restriction on the supply of new urban land is commonly thought to raise the value of existing urban land. Our paper questions this view. We develop a tractable production-externality-based circular city model in which firms and workers choose locations and intensity of land use. Consistent with evidence, the model implies exponentially decaying density and price gradients. For plausible parameter values, an increase in the demand for urban land can lead to a smaller increase in urban rents in cities that cannot expand physically because they are less able to exploit the positive external ...
A seniority arrangement for sovereign debt
A sovereign's inability to commit to a course of action regarding future borrowing and default behavior makes long-term debt costly (the problem of debt dilution). One mechanism to mitigate the debt dilution problem is the inclusion of a seniority clause in sovereign debt contracts. In the event of default, creditors are to be paid off in the order in which they lent (the ?absolute priority" or ?first-in-time" rule). In this paper, we propose a modification of the absolute priority rule that is more suited to the sovereign debt context and analyze its positive and normative implications ...
A quantitative analysis of the u.s. housing and mortgage markets and the foreclosure crisis
We present a model of long-duration collateralized debt with risk of default. Applied to the housing market, it can match the homeownership rate, the average foreclosure rate, and the lower tail of the distribution of home-equity ratios across homeowners prior to the recent crisis. We stress the role of favorable tax treatment of housing in matching these facts. We then use the model to account for the foreclosure crisis in terms of three shocks: overbuilding, financial frictions, and foreclosure delays. The financial friction shock accounts for much of the decline in house prices, while the ...
Incumbency Disadvantage of Political Parties: The Role of Policy Inertia and Prospective Voting
We document that postwar U.S. elections show a strong pattern of ?incumbency disadvantage": If a party has held the presidency of the country or the governorship of a state for some time, that party tends to lose popularity in the subsequent election. To explain this fact, we employ Alesina and Tabellini's (1990) model of partisan politics, extended to have elections with prospective voting. We show that inertia in policies, combined with sufficient uncertainty in election outcomes, implies incumbency disadvantage. We find that inertia can cause parties to target policies that are more ...
The Firm Size and Leverage Relationship and Its Implications for Entry and Concentration in a Low Interest Rate World
Larger firms (by sales or employment) have higher leverage. This pattern is explained using a model in which firms produce multiple varieties and borrow with the option to default against their future cash ow. A variety can die with a constant probability, implying that bigger firms (those with more varieties) have lower coefficient of variation of sales and higher leverage. A lower risk-free rate benefits bigger firms more as they are able to lever more and existing firms buy more of the new varieties arriving into the economy. This leads to lower startup rates and greater concentration of ...
Policy Inertia, Election Uncertainty and Incumbency Disadvantage of Political Parties
We document that postwar U.S. elections show a strong pattern of ?incumbency disadvantage?: If a party has held the presidency of the country or the governorship of a state for some time, that party tends to lose popularity in the subsequent election. We show that this fact can be explained by a combination of policy inertia and unpredictability in election outcomes. A quantitative analysis shows that the observed magnitude of incumbency disadvantage can arise in several di?erent models of policy inertia. Normative and positive implications of policy inertia leading to incumbency disadvantage ...
Debt dilution: when it is a major problem and how to deal with it
Today we recognize sovereign default, which was once largely confined to developing economies, as a threat not only to investors and to the defaulting country's economic and political stability but also to the global financial system. Burcu Eyigungor explains that a major reason that countries are prone to debt crises is a phenomenon called debt dilution.
Rising disability rolls: causes, effects, and possible cures
Social Security disability insurance began in 1956 as a means of insuring a portion of the earned income of U.S. workers over age 50 against the risk of disability. In 1960, when coverage was extended to all workers, less than half a million workers were collecting benefits, and by 2012 this number had increased to 8.8 million people ? an increase from 0.3 percent to 3.6 percent of the population. Over this period, there have been a number of changes: Initially, the law insured only against permanent disabilities, but in 1965 the definition of disability was expanded to cover impairments ...