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Author:Sommer, Kamila 

Working Paper
Fertility Choice in a Life Cycle Model with Idiosyncratic Uninsurable Earnings Risk

This paper studies the link between rising income uncertainty and household fertility patterns in an Aiyagari-Bewley-Huggett framework augmented to include fertility decisions and infertility risk. Building on Becker and Tomes (1976), I model fertility decisions as sequential, irreversible choices over the number of children, accompanied by parental choices of time and money invested toward improving children's quality. The calibrated model is used to quantify the contribution of earnings uncertainty to the changes in the key fertility indicators between steady states. I show that realistic ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-32

Discussion Paper
A Trillion Dollar Question: What Predicts Student Loan Delinquency Risk?

Over the past ten years, the real amount of student debt owed by American households more than doubled, from about $450 billion to more than $1.1 trillion. As a result of this increase, in 2010 student loan debt surpassed credit card debt as the largest class of non-housing consumer debt.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2015-10-16

Discussion Paper
Can Student Loan Debt Explain Low Homeownership Rates for Young Adults?

This first article explores the impact that rising student loan debt levels may have on homeownership rates among young adults.
Consumer & Community Context

Discussion Paper
A New Measure of Housing Wealth in the Financial Accounts of the United States

This note introduces a new method for measuring the aggregate value of own-use residential real estate in the United States from 2001 to present.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2018-09-28-2

Working Paper
Measuring Aggregate Housing Wealth : New Insights from an Automated Valuation Model

We construct a new measure of aggregate U.S. housing wealth based on Zillow's Automated Valuation Model (AVM). AVMs offer advantages over other methods because they are based on recent market transaction prices, utilize large datasets which include property characteristics and local geographic variables, and are updated frequently with little lag. However, using Zillow's AVM to measure aggregate housing wealth requires overcoming several challenges related to the representativeness of the Zillow sample. We propose methods that address these challenges and generate a new estimate of aggregate ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-064

Discussion Paper
Student Loan Debt and Aggregate Consumption Growth

Although student debt service is undoubtedly a source of severe financial strain for some individuals, in this discussion we show that the direct effect of increased student debt service on aggregate consumption growth is likely small.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2018-02-21

Working Paper
Student Loans and Homeownership

We estimate the effect of student loan debt on subsequent homeownership in a uniquely constructed administrative dataset for a nationally representative cohort. We instrument for the amount of individual student debt using changes to the in-state tuition rate at public 4-year colleges in the student's home state. A $1,000 increase in student loan debt lowers the homeownership rate by about 1.5 percentage points for public 4-year college-goers during their mid 20s, equivalent to an average delay of 2.5 months in attaining homeownership. Validity tests suggest that the results are not ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-10

Working Paper
A Historical Welfare Analysis of Social Security: Whom Did the Program Benefit?

A well-established result in the literature is that Social Security tends to reduce steady state welfare in a standard life cycle model. However, less is known about the historical effects of the program on agents who were alive when the program was adopted. In a computational life cycle model that simulates the Great Depression and the enactment of Social Security, this paper quantifies the welfare effects of the program's enactment on the cohorts of agents who experienced it. In contrast to the standard steady state results, we find that the adoption of the original Social Security tended ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-92

Discussion Paper
Updating the Distributional Financial Accounts

In addition to incorporating 2020q2 data from the Financial Accounts, the 2020q2 release of the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFAs) includes three substantial updates. The most consequential is the incorporation of the newly released 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF).
FEDS Notes , Paper 2020-11-09-2

Discussion Paper
Student Loans and Homeownership Trends

The increases in student loan debt and delinquencies over the past few years have raised concerns about whether heavy student loan debt burdens are making it more difficult for young households to become homeowners.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2014-10-15


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