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Author:Lehnert, Andreas 

Working Paper
Asset pooling, credit rationing, and growth

I study the effect of improved financial intermediation on the process of capital accumulation by augmenting a standard model with a general contract space. With the extra contracts, intermediaries endogenously begin using ROSCAs, or Rotating Savings and Credit Associations. These contracts allow poor agents, previously credit rationed, access to credit. As a result, agents work harder and total economy-wide output increases; however, these gains come at the cost of increased inequality. I provide sufficient conditions for the allocations to be Pareto optimal, and for there to be a unique ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1998-52

Working Paper
Pricing systemic crises: monetary and fiscal policy when savers are uncertain

The return on assets depends on the joint behavior of all savers; if all sell the asset simultaneously, then there will be a financial "Armageddon." We assume that risk-neutral savers' information about aggregate investment is too vague to form precise probability estimates, so they have Knightian uncertainty, and thus act to maximize their minimum payoff. Savers invest in a risky asset (economy-wide production) and in a riskless asset (government bonds). In times of high uncertainty, savers hold too many government bonds, lowering output. A monetary policy of lowering the risk-free rate ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1999-33

Report
Personal bankruptcy and credit market competition

The effect of credit market competition on borrower default is theoretically ambiguous, because the quantity of credit supplied may rise or fall following an increase in competition. We investigate empirically the relationship between credit market competition, lending to households, and personal bankruptcy rates in the United States. We exploit the exogenous variation in market contestability brought on by banking deregulation at the state level: after deregulation, banks faced the threat of entry into their state markets. We find that deregulation increased competition for borrowers, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 272

Journal Article
Mutual funds and the U.S. equity market

Mutual funds have become an important intermediary between households and financial markets, especially the equity market. About half of all households have a mutual fund account, and mutual funds hold about one-fifth of household financial assets. Because households have favored equity investments in their mutual fund accounts, mutual funds currently hold about one-fifth of all publicly traded U.S. equities. In addition to discussing the recent growth of mutual funds and their role in household finances, this article analyzes the relationship between households' investment decisions in ...
Federal Reserve Bulletin , Volume 86 , Issue Dec

Working Paper
Making sense of the subprime crisis

This paper explores the question of whether market participants could have or should have anticipated the large increase in foreclosures that occurred in 2007 and 2008. Most of these foreclosures stemmed from loans originated in 2005 and 2006, leading many to suspect that lenders originated a large volume of extremely risky loans during this period. However, the authors show that while loans originated in this period did carry extra risk factors, particularly increased leverage, underwriting standards alone cannot explain the dramatic rise in foreclosures. Focusing on the role of house ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2009-02

Working Paper
Housing, consumption, and credit constraints

I test the credit-market effects of housing wealth shocks by estimating the consumption elasticity of house price shocks among households in different age quintiles. Younger households face faster expected income growth and hence would like to borrow more than older households. I estimate consumption elasticities from housing wealth by age quintile to be {4; 0; 3; 8; 3} percent. As predicted by theory, the youngest group has a higher elasticity of consumption than the next two age quintiles. That the consumption of the age quintile on the verge of retirement is responsive to housing wealth is ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2004-63

Working Paper
The competitive effects of risk-based bank capital regulation: an example from U.S. mortgage markets

Basel II bank capital regulations are designed to be substantially more risk sensitive than the current regulations. In the United States, only the largest banks would be required to adopt Basel II; other depositories could choose to adopt such standards or to remain under the Basel I capital standards. We consider possible effects of this two-pronged or "bifurcated" approach on the market for residential mortgages. Specifically, we analyze whether those institutions that adopt Basel II will enjoy lower costs than nonadopters and whether they have an incentive to retain mortgages in their ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2006-46

Working Paper
Designing loan modifications to address the mortgage crisis and the making home affordable program

Delinquencies on residential mortgages and home foreclosures have risen dramatically in the past couple of years. The mortgage losses triggered a broad-based financial crisis and severe recession, which, in turn, exacerbated the initial financial distress faced by homeowners. Although servicers increased their loss mitigation efforts as defaults began to mount, foreclosures continued to occur in cases where both the borrower and investor would be better off if such an outcome were avoided. The U.S. government has engaged in a number of initiatives to reduce such foreclosures. This paper ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2009-43

Working Paper
GSEs, mortgage rates, and secondary market activities

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that securitize mortgages and issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS). In addition, the GSEs are active participants in the secondary mortgage market on behalf of their own investment portfolios. Because these portfolios have grown quite large, portfolio purchases (in addition to MBS issuance) are often thought to be an important force in the mortgage market. Using monthly data from 1993 to 2005 we estimate a VAR model of the relationship between GSE secondary market activities and mortgage interest rate spreads. We find ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2006-30

Working Paper
GSEs, mortgage rates, and secondary market activities

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that purchase mortgages and issue mortgage-backed securities (MBS). In addition, the GSEs are active participants in the primary and secondary mortgage markets on behalf of their own portfolios of MBS. Because these portfolios have grown quite large, portfolio purchases as well as MBS issuance are likely to be important forces in the mortgage market. This paper examines the statistical evidence of a connection between GSE actions and the interest rates paid by mortgage borrowers. We find that both portfolio purchases and ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2005-07

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