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Author:Li, Wenli 

Working Paper
Leaving Households Behind: Institutional Investors and the U.S. Housing Recovery

Ten years after the mortgage crisis, the U.S. housing market has rebounded significantly with house prices now near the peak achieved during the boom. Homeownership rates, on the other hand, have continued to decline. We reconcile the two phenomena by documenting the rising presence of institutional investors in this market. Our analysis makes use of housing transaction data. By exploiting heterogeneity in zip codes' exposure to the First Look program instituted by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that affected investors' access to foreclosed properties, we establish the causal relationship between ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-1

Journal Article
Investing in Elm Street: What Happens When Firms Buy Up Houses?

Since the onset of the mortgage crisis in 2007, a much larger than normal share of single-family houses listed for sale in the U.S. each year has been purchased by institutional investors?Wall Street firms, real estate trusts, international funds, and so on. This phenomenon has been easing since 2013, but investor activity remains widespread and is particularly prevalent in high-foreclosure areas such as Las Vegas and Atlanta, where prices had soared during the housing bubble and, after the crash, severe house price downturns occurred. This trend is also growing in areas of the country where ...
Economic Insights , Volume 3 , Issue 3 , Pages 9-14

Journal Article
How the Asian crisis affected the world economy : a general equilibrium perspective

Economic Quarterly , Issue Spr , Pages 35-59

Journal Article
Smart money or dumb money: investors' role in the housing bubble

To explain the historic housing boom and bust, most analysis has identified easy credit in the form of low interest rates, subprime mortgages, and relaxed qualifications for borrowers. But as Wenli Li explains, recent research suggests an additional factor: real estate speculation.
Business Review , Issue Q1 , Pages 21-26

Working Paper
Fresh start or head start? The effect of filing for personal bankruptcy on the labor supply

The key feature of the modern U.S. personal bankruptcy law is to provide debtors a financial fresh start through debt discharge. The primary justification for the discharge policy is to preserve human capital by maintaining incentives for work. In this paper, we test this fresh start argument by providing the first estimate of the effect of personal bankruptcy filing on the labor supply using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Our econometric approach controls for the endogenous self-selection of bankruptcy filing and allows for dependence over time for the same household. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2004-28

Journal Article
Your house just doubled in value? Don't uncork the champagne just yet!

Wenli Li and Rui Yao present their recent research, which tries to quantify the effects of house-price changes on both consumption and the well-being of American households. Their study looks at the economy as a whole, as well as different demographic groups.
Business Review , Issue Q1 , Pages 25-34

Working Paper
The dynamics of subprime adjustable-rate mortgage default: a structural estimation

We present a dynamic structural model of subprime adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) borrowers making payment decisions, taking into account possible consequences of different degrees of delinquency from their lenders. We empirically implement the model using unique data sets that contain information on borrowers' mortgage payment history, their broad balance sheets, and lender responses. Our investigation of the factors that drive borrowers' decisions reveals that subprime ARMs are not all alike. For loans originated in 2004 and 2005, the interest rate resets associated with ARMs as well as the ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-2

Working Paper
Recourse and residential mortgages: the case of Nevada

The state of Nevada passed legislation in 2009 that abolished deficiency judgments for purchase mortgage loans made after October 1, 2009, and collateralized by primary single-family homes. In this paper, we study how the law change affected lenders? decisions to grant mortgages and borrowers? decisions to apply for them and subsequently default. Using unique mortgage loan-level application and performance data, we find strong evidence that lenders tightened their lending standards for mortgages affected by the new legislation. In particular, lenders reduced approval rates and loan sizes for ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-2

Journal Article
To forgive or not to forgive : an analysis of U.S. consumer bankruptcy choices

Economic Quarterly , Issue Spr , Pages 1-22

Journal Article
Largest Texas Metros Lure Big-City, Coastal Migrants During Pandemic

Almost two years since the pandemic began, high-frequency data show that migration to Texas has accelerated, as the state’s four biggest metros experience an influx of migrants often from the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The emergence of working from home has lessened both workers’ and some companies’ reliance on physical offices, clearing the way for the new wave of mobility.
Southwest Economy , Issue Fourth Quarter


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