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Series:Working Papers  Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston 

Working Paper
Mortgage Prepayment, Race, and Monetary Policy

This paper documents large differences in mortgage prepayment behavior across racial and ethnic groups in the United States, which have significant implications for monetary policy, inequality, and pricing. Using a novel data set that combines administrative data on mortgage performance with information on race and ethnicity, we show that Black and Hispanic white borrowers have significantly lower prepayment rates compared with Non-Hispanic white borrowers, holding income, credit score, and equity constant. This gap is on the order of 50 percent and largely reflects different sensitivities ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-7

Working Paper
Real Effects of Foreign Exchange Risk Migration: Evidence from Matched Firm-Bank Microdata

When firms trade forward contracts with banks to protect foreign currency cash flows against exchange rate movements, foreign exchange risk migrates to the banking sector. We show how this migrated risk may induce systemic repercussions with severe implications for the real economy. For identification, we exploit the Brexit referendum in June 2016 as a quasi-natural experiment in combination with detailed microdata on forward contracts and the credit register in Germany. Before the referendum, firms substantially increased their use of derivatives in response to the heightened uncertainty; ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-8

Working Paper
Consumer Payment Choice for Bill Payments

Why do US consumers pay their bills the way they do? Using data from a recent diary of consumer payment behavior, we find that the type of bill consumers are paying and how they are paying (online or automatically) are important factors in determining the payment method, in addition to the dollar value of the bill and the demographic and income profile of the individual who is paying. In contrast, dollar value and demographic attributes are found to be the most important factors determining the payment instrument chosen for purchases. Consumer choices for bill payments are somewhat ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-9

Working Paper
Bargaining Power and Outside Options in the Interbank Lending Market

We study the role of bargaining power and outside options with respect to the pricing of over-the-counter interbank loans using a bilateral Nash bargaining model, and we test the model predictions with detailed transaction-level data from the euro-area interbank market. We find that lender banks with greater bargaining power over their borrowers charge higher interest rates, while the lack of alternative investment opportunities for lenders lowers bilateral interest rates. Moreover, we find that when lenders that are not eligible to earn interest on excess reserves (IOER) lend funds to ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-10

Working Paper
Fiscal Expansions in the Era of Low Real Interest Rates

Low natural real interest rates limit the power of monetary policy to revive the economy due to the zero lower bound (ZLB) on the nominal interest rate. Fiscal stabilization via higher government debt is frequently recommended as a policy to raise the natural real interest rate. This paper builds a non-Ricardian framework to study the tradeoffs associated with a debt-financed fiscal expansion and show that even in a low real interest rate environment, higher debt doesn’t necessarily raise the real interest rate. The effect of the expansion is non-monotonic: Increasing debt raises the ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-11

Working Paper
Estimating the Cost Function of Connecticut Public K–12 Education: Implications for Inequity and Inadequacy in School Spending

Facing legal challenges and public pressures, Connecticut needs an objective and rigorous study of its public education costs. This study is the first to estimate the cost function of Connecticut public K–12 education and to evaluate the equity and the adequacy in the state’s school spending based on regression-estimated education costs. It finds large disparities across districts in education costs and cost-adjusted spending. Districts with the largest enrollments, the highestschool-age-child-poverty rates, or the least amount of property wealth, on average, have the highest costs and ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-6

Working Paper
Dynamic Sales Tax Competition: Evidence from Panel Data at the Border

We examine both vertical and horizontal tax competition over time by studying the strategic response of county sales taxation to state sales taxes and to cross-border neighboring municipalities’ combined (state and county) taxes. Using county and state sales tax data from 2003 through 2009, we employ both static and dynamic panel analysis as well as an instrumental variables approach in combination with a border analysis. Our results confirm the presence of tax competition in the cross section, as previous studies have found. Results from the fixed-effects and dynamic panel analysis also ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-5

Working Paper
Technological innovation in mortgage underwriting and the growth in credit, 1985–2015

The application of information technology to finance, or ?fintech,? is expected to revolutionize many aspects of borrowing and lending in the future, but technology has been reshaping consumer and mortgage lending for many years. During the 1990s, computerization allowed mortgage lenders to reduce loan-processing times and largely replace human-based assessments of credit risk with default predictions generated by sophisticated empirical models. Debt-to-income ratios at origination add little to the predictive power of these models, so the new automated underwriting systems allowed higher ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-11

Working Paper
Accounting for racial wealth disparities in the United States

Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, this paper updates and extends previous research on the racial wealth gap in the United States. We explore several hypotheses that help explain differential wealth accumulation by racial groups, including the importance of receiving inheritances and other financial support from relatives and the conditions in local real estate markets. By exploring the disparities among white, black, and Hispanic families, we make new contributions to the literature. We find that observable factors account for the entire wealth gap between white and Hispanic ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-13

Working Paper
Tariff passthrough at the border and at the store: evidence from US trade policy

We use micro data collected at the border and at retailers to characterize the effects brought by recent changes in US trade policy ? particularly the tariffs placed on imports from China ? on importers, consumers, and exporters. We start by documenting that the tariffs were almost fully passed through to the total prices paid by importers, suggesting that the tariffs? incidence has fallen largely on the United States. Since we estimate the response of prices to exchange rates to be far more muted, the recent depreciation of the Chinese renminbi is unlikely to alter this conclusion. Next, ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-12

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