Who Borrows for College—and Who Repays?
Student loans are increasingly a focus of discourse among politicians, policymakers, and the news media, resulting in a range of new ideas to address the swelling aggregate debt. Evaluating student loan policy proposals requires understanding the challenges faced by student borrowers. In this post, we explore the substantial variation in the experiences of borrowers and consider the distributional effects of various policy options.
Measuring student debt and its performance
Studies continue to indicate that higher education is frequently a worthwhile investment for individuals and that it raises the productivity of the workforce as a whole. While the rising cost of post-secondary education has not eliminated this "college premium," it has raised new questions about how growing numbers of students can make these investments. One solution to this problem is student loans, which have come to play an increasingly important role in financing higher education. Yet, despite its importance, educational debt is not well understood. Among the reasons is that there ...
Public infrastructure investments, productivity and welfare in fixed geographic areas
Measures of the value of public investments are critical inputs into the policy process, and aggregate production and cost functions have become the dominant methods of evaluating these benefits. This paper examines the limitations of these approaches in light of applied production and spatial equilibrium theories. A spatial general equilibrium model of an economy with nontraded, localized public goods like infrastructure is proposed, and a method for identifying the role of public capital in firm production and household preferences is derived. Empirical evidence from a sample of large U.S. ...
A Monthly Peek into Americans’ Credit During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Total household debt was roughly flat in the second quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit from the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data. But, for the first time, the dynamics in household debt balances were driven primarily by a sharp decline in credit card balances, as consumer spending plummeted. In an effort to gain greater clarity, the New York Fed and the Federal Reserve System have acquired monthly updates for the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel, based on anonymized Equifax credit report data. We’ve been closely watching ...
Just Released: Press Briefing on Student Loan Borrowing and Repayment Trends, 2015
This morning, Jamie McAndrews, the Director of Research at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, spoke to the press about the economic recovery, and his speech was followed by a special briefing by New York Fed economists on student loans. Here, we provide a short summary of the student loan briefing.
The homeownership gap
After rising for a decade, the U.S. homeownership rate peaked at 69 percent in the third quarter of 2006. Over the next two and a half years, as home prices fell in many parts of the country and the unemployment rate rose sharply, the homeownership rate declined by 1.7 percentage points. An important question is, how much more will this rate decline over the current economic downturn? To address this question, we propose the concept of the "homeownership gap" as a gauge of downward pressure on the homeownership rate. We define the homeownership gap as the difference between the ...
Inequality in U.S. Homeownership Rates by Race and Ethnicity
Homeownership has historically been an important means for Americans to accumulate wealth—in fact, at more than $15 trillion, housing equity accounts for 16 percent of total U.S. household wealth. Consequently, the U.S. homeownership cycle has triggered large swings in Americans’ net worth over the past twenty-five years. However, the nature of those swings has varied significantly by race and ethnicity, with different demographic groups tracing distinct trajectories through the housing boom, the foreclosure crisis, and the subsequent recovery. Here, we look into the dynamics underlying ...
Juvenile delinquent mortgages: bad credit or bad economy?
We study early default, defined as serious delinquency or foreclosure in the first year, among nonprime mortgages from the 2001 to 2007 vintages. After documenting a dramatic rise in such defaults and discussing their correlates, we examine two primary explanations: changes in underwriting standards that took place over this period and changes in the economic environment. We find that while credit standards were important in determining the probability of an early default, changes in the economy after 2004 - especially a sharp reversal in house price appreciation - were the more critical ...
The supply side of the housing boom and bust of the 2000s
The boom and subsequent bust in housing construction and prices over the 2000s is widely regarded as a principal contributor to the Financial Panic of 2007 and the subsequent Great Recession. As of this writing, housing market activity remains at depressed levels as the economy slowly resolves the legacy of excess supply and sharply lower prices. Over 2.6 million foreclosures have been completed since 2008 and 1.9 million foreclosures are in process. Much has been written about the demand side of this pronounced housing cycle, in particular, the innovations in mortgage finance and the ...
Some Options for Addressing Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Problems
Puerto Rico’s economic and fiscal challenges have been an important focus of work done here at the New York Fed, resulting in two reports (2012 and 2014), several blog posts and one paper in our Current Issues series in just the last few years. As the Commonwealth’s problems have deepened, the Obama administration and Congress have begun discussing potential approaches to addressing them. In this post, we update our previous estimates of Puerto Rico’s outstanding debt and discuss the effect that various forms of bankruptcy protection might have on the Commonwealth.