Can't Pay or Won't Pay? Unemployment, Negative Equity, and Strategic Default
This paper exploits matched data from the PSID on borrower mortgages with income and demographic data to quantify the relative importance of negative equity, versus lack of ability to pay, as affecting default between 2009 and 2013. These data allow us to construct household budgets sets that provide better measures of ability to pay. We use instrumental variables to quantify the impact of ability to pay, including job loss and disability, versus negative equity. Changes in ability to pay have the largest estimated effects. Job loss has an equivalent effect on default likelihood as a 35 percent decline in equity.
AUTHORS: Gerardi, Kristopher S.; Herkenhoff, Kyle F.; Ohanian, Lee E.; Willen, Paul S.
Common Ownership Does Not Have Anti-Competitive Effects in the Airline Industry
Institutional investors often own significant equity in firms that compete in the same product market. These "common owners" may have an incentive to coordinate the actions of firms that would otherwise be competing rivals, leading to anti-competitive pricing. This paper uses data on airline ticket prices to test whether common owners induce anti-competitive pricing behavior. We find little evidence to support such a hypothesis, and show that the positive relationship between average ticket prices and a commonly used measure of common ownership previously documented in the literature is generated by the endogenous market share component, rather than the ownership component, of the measure.
AUTHORS: Dennis, Patrick; Gerardi, Kristopher S.; Schenone, Carola
Bankruptcy and delinquency in a model of unsecured debt
This paper documents and interprets two facts central to the dynamics of informal default or ?delinquency? on unsecured consumer debt. First, delinquency does not mean a persistent cessation of payment. In particular, we observe that for individuals 60 to 90 days late on payments, 85% make payments during the next quarter that allow them to avoid entering more severe delinquency. Second, many in delinquency (40%) have smaller debt obligations one quarter later. To understand these facts, we develop a theoretically and institutionally plausible model of debt delinquency and bankruptcy. Our model reproduces the dynamics of delinquency and suggests an interpretation of the data in which lenders frequently (in roughly 40% of cases) reset the terms for delinquent borrowers, typically involving partial debt forgiveness, rather than a blanket imposition of the ?penalty rates? most unsecured credit contracts specify.
AUTHORS: Athreya, Kartik B.; Sanchez, Juan M.; Tam, Xuan S.; Young, Eric R.
Endogenous Debt Maturity: Liquidity Risk vs. Default Risk
We study the endogenous determination of corporate debt maturity in a setting with default risk. We assume that firms must access the bond market and they issue debt with a flexible structure (coupon, face value, and maturity). Initially, the firm is in a low growth/illiquid state that requires debt refinancing if it matures. Since lenders do not refinance projects with positive but small net present value, firms may be forced to default in the first phase. We call this liquidity risk. The technology is such that earnings can switch to a higher (but riskier) level. In this second phase firms have access to the equity market but they may default if this is the best option. We call this strategic default risk. In the model optimal maturity balances these two risks. We show that firms with poor prospects and firms in more unstable industries will choose shorter maturities even if it is feasible to issue longer debt. The model also offers predictions on how asset maturity, asset salability, and leverage influence maturity. Even though our model is extremely stylized we find that the predictions are roughly consistent with the evidence. Moreover, it offers some insights into the factors that determine the structure of the debt.
AUTHORS: Manuelli, Rodolfo E.; Sanchez, Juan M.
ENDOGENOUS/EXOGENOUS SEGMENTATION IN THE A-IRB FRAMEWORK AND THE PRO-CYCLICALITY OF CAPITAL: AN APPLICATION TO MORTGAGE PORTFOLIOS
This paper investigates the pro-cyclicality of capital in the advanced internal ratings-based (A-IRB) Basel approach for retail portfolios and identifies the fundamental assumptions required for stable A-IRB risk weights over the economic cycle. Specifically, it distinguishes between endogenous and exogenous segmentation risk drivers and, through application to a portfolio of first mortgages, shows that risk weights remain stable over the economic cycle when the segmentation scheme is derived using exogenous risk drivers, while segmentation schemes that include endogenous risk drivers are highly pro cyclical. Also analyzed is the sensitivity of the A-IRB framework to model risk resulting from the selection, at the quantification stage, of a data sample period that does not include a period of significant economic downturn. The analysis illustrates important limitations and sensitivities of the A IRB framework and sheds light on the implicit restrictions embedded in recent regulatory guidance that underscore the importance of rating systems that remain stable over time and throughout business cycles.
AUTHORS: Canals-Cerda, Jose J.
Financial benefits, travel costs, and bankruptcy
We are the first to show that the cost of personal bankruptcy filers traveling to their bankruptcy trustees affects bankruptcy choices. We use detailed balance sheet, income statement, and location data from 400,000 Canadian bankruptcies. To control for endogenous trustee selection, we use the location of local government offices as an instrument for the location of bankruptcy trustees (while filers interact with trustees, and trustees interact with local government, filers do not interact with the local government). We find that increased travel costs reduce the number of filings. Furthermore, for those individuals who do file, we find that their increased travel costs need to be compensated by increased financial benefits of bankruptcy. Filers without cars (higher travel costs), as well as those with jobs (higher opportunity costs), receive larger per-kilometer financial benefits from bankruptcy.
AUTHORS: Scholnick, Barry; Mikhed, Vyacheslav
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 housing and labor market conditions were not as important in borrowers' delinquency decisions as in their decisions to pay o_ their loans. For loans originated in 2006, interest rate resets, housing price declines, and worsening labor market conditions all contributed importantly to their high delinquency rates. Counterfactual policy simulations reveal that even if the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) could be lowered to zero by aggressive traditional monetary policies, it would have a limited effect on reducing the delinquency rates. We find that automatic modification mortgages with cushions, under which the monthly payment or principal balance reductions are triggered only when housing price declines exceed a certain percentage, may result in a Pareto improvement, in that borrowers and lenders are both made better o_ than under the baseline, with lower delinquency and foreclosure rates. Our counterfactual analysis also suggests that limited commitment power on the part of the lenders regarding loan modification policies may be an important reason for the relatively low rate of modifications observed during the housing crisis.
AUTHORS: Li, Wenli; Fang, Hanming; Kim, You Suk
An anatomy of u.s. Personal bankruptcy under chapter 13
We build a structural model of Chapter 13 bankruptcy that captures salient features of personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13. We estimate our model using a novel data set we construct from bankruptcy court dockets recorded in Delaware between 2001 and 2002. Our estimation results highlight the importance of debtor?s choice of repayment plan length on Chapter 13 outcomes under the restrictions imposed by the bankruptcy law. We use the estimated model to conduct policy experiments to evaluate the impact of more stringent provisions of Chapter 13 that impose additional restrictions on the length of repayment plans. We find that these provisions would not materially affect creditor recovery rates and would not necessarily make discharge more likely for debtors with income above the state median income.
AUTHORS: Li, Wenli; Eraslan, Hulya; Koşar, Gizem; Sarte, Pierre-Daniel G.
On the Measurement of Large Financial Firm Resolvability
We say that a large financial institution is "resolvable" if policymakers would allow it to go through unassisted bankruptcy in the event of failure. The choice between bankruptcy or bailout trades off the higher loss imposed on the economy in a potentially disruptive resolution against the incentive for excessive risk-taking created by an assisted resolution or a bailout. The resolution plans ("living wills") of large financial institutions contain information needed to evaluate this trade-off. In this paper, we propose a tool to complement the living will review process: an impact score that compares expected losses in the economy stemming from a resolution in bankruptcy with those expected under an assisted resolution or a bailout, based solely on objective characteristics of a bank holding company. We provide a framework that allows us to discuss the data needed and the concepts that underlie the construction of such a score. Importantly, the same firm characteristics may be ascribed different impacts under different resolution methods or crisis scenarios, and these impacts can depend on policymakers' assessments. We say that a firm's structure is acceptable if its impact score under bankruptcy is lower than that of any other resolution method. We study the current score used to designate firms as GSIBs and propose a modified version that we view as a starting point for an impact score.
AUTHORS: Jarque, Arantxa; Walter, John R.; Evert, Jackson
Bankruptcy and Delinquency in a Model of Unsecured Debt
This paper documents and interprets two facts central to the dynamics of informal default or "delinquency" on unsecured consumer debt. First, delinquency does not mean a persistent cessation of payment. In particular, we observe that for individuals 60 to 90 days late on payments, 85% make payments during the next quarter that allow them to avoid entering more severe delinquency. Second, many in delinquency (40%) have smaller debt obligations one quarter later. To understand these facts, we develop a theoretically and institutionally plausible model of debt delinquency and bankruptcy. Our model reproduces the dynamics of delinquency and suggests an interpretation of the data in which lenders frequently (in roughly 40% of cases) reset the terms for delinquent borrowers, typically involving partial debt forgiveness, rather than a blanket imposition of the "penalty rates" most unsecured credit contracts specify.
AUTHORS: Athreya, Kartik B.; Sanchez, Juan M.; Young, Eric R.; Tam, Xuan S.