The CPI for rents: a case of understated inflation.
Until the end of 1977, the method used in the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) to measure rent inflation tended to omit rent increases when units had a change of tenants or were vacant. Since such units typically had more rapid increases in rents than average units, this response bias biased inflation estimates downward. Beginning in 1978, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) implemented a series of methodological changes that reduced response bias but substantial bias remained until 1985. We set up a model of response bias, parameterize it, and test it using a BLS microdata set for rents. We ...
Investing in intangibles: is a trillion dollars missing from the GDP?
Leonard Nakamura examines this paradox of low savings accompanied by increased wealth.
Is the U.S. economy really growing too slowly?
Has American economic progress slowed dramatically?or even stopped? Or are the statistics wrong: has the U.S. economy been experiencing strong growth, but our official measures fail to reflect it? In this article, Leonard Nakamura explores how economic progress is measured and discusses some of the policy implications that arise from alternative measures of our rate of growth
Checking accounts and bank monitoring
Do checking accounts help banks monitor borrowers? If they do, the rationale both for allowing regulated providers of liquidity to also make risky loans to commercial borrowers and for the government's providing deposit insurance becomes clearer. Using a unique set of data that includes monthly and annual information on small-business borrowers at an anonymous Canadian bank, the authors provide evidence that a bank has exclusive access to a continuous stream of borrower data, namely, the firm's checking account balances at the bank, that helps it to monitor the borrower. ; To the authors' ...
Credit cycle and adverse selection effects in consumer credit markets -- evidence from the HELOC market
The authors empirically study how the underlying riskiness of the pool of home equity line of credit originations is affected over the credit cycle. Drawing from the largest existing database of U.S. home equity lines of credit, they use county-level aggregates of these loans to estimate panel regressions on the characteristics of the borrowers and their loans, and competing risk hazard regressions on the outcomes of the loans. The authors show that when the expected unemployment risk of households increases, riskier households tend to borrow more. As a consequence, the pool of households ...
Hedonic estimates of the cost of housing services: rental and owner-occupied units.
Recent papers have questioned the accuracy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' methodology for measuring rent increases and changes in implicit rents for owner-occupied housing. We compare the BLS estimates of increases in rents and owner-occupied housing costs to regression-based estimates using data from the American Housing Survey. A hedonic approach that explicitly calculates capitalization rates produces a methodologically consistent measure of the rental cost of owner-occupied housing. We estimate that between 1985 and 1999 the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) may have understated the ...
Mismeasured personal saving and the permanent income hypothesis
Is it possible to forecast using poorly measured data? According to the permanent income hypothesis, a low personal saving rate should predict rising future income (Campbell, 1987). However, the U.S. personal saving rate is initially poorly measured and has been repeatedly revised upward in benchmark revisions. The authors use both conventional and real-time estimates of the personal saving rate in vector autoregressions to forecast real disposable income; using the level of the personal saving rate in real time would have almost invariably made forecasts worse, but first differences of the ...
Optimal bank closure for deposit insurers
“Don't Know What You Got Till It’s Gone” — The Effects of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) on Mortgage Lending in the Philadelphia Market
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), enacted in 1977, has served as an important tool to foster access to financial services for lower-income communities across the country. This study provides new evidence on the effectiveness of CRA on mortgage lending by focusing on a large number of neighborhoods that became eligible and ineligible for CRA credit in the Philadelphia market because of an exogenous policy shock in 2014. The CRA effects are more evident when a lower-income neighborhood loses its CRA coverage, which leads to a 10 percent or more decrease in purchase originations by ...
What you don’t know can hurt you: keeping track of risks in the financial system
The financial crisis of 2007-2008 left in its wake new responsibilities for regulators to monitor the economy for risks to financial stability. The new task of monitoring financial stability includes tracking the risks of financial instruments and learning where these risks are located within the financial marketplace. One way to do this is to track the quantities of financial instruments and which institutions hold them. In this article, Leonard Nakamura discusses some limitations of the current data and the current data framework and the extent to which we can use the Flow of Funds for ...