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Jel Classification:G50 

Discussion Paper
Climate Change and Consumer Finance: A Very Brief Literature Review

Extant research shows that climate change can impose significant costs on consumers’ wealth and finances. Both sea-level rise and flooding from hurricane events led to high price declines and thus wealth loss for homes in coastal areas or in disaster-struck areas, with effects lingering for a number of years in some cases. In terms of consumer finance, while the average consumer is not always significantly negatively affected by a disaster, the vulnerable groups (those with low credit scores and who are low income) can be severely affected, experiencing higher rates of delinquencies and ...
Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers , Paper 21-04

Working Paper
Inequality in the Time of COVID-19: Evidence from Mortgage Delinquency and Forbearance

Using a novel database that combines mortgage servicing records, credit-bureau data, and loan application information, we show that lower-income and minority borrowers have significantly higher nonpayment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, even after controlling for conventional risk factors. A difference-in-differences analysis shows how much the pandemic has exacerbated income and racial inequalities. We then find that government and private-sector forbearance programs have mitigated these inequalities in the near term, as lower-income and minority borrowers have taken up the short-term ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-09

Working Paper
The Assessment Gap: Racial Inequalities in Property Taxation

We use panel data covering 118 million homes in the United States, merged with geolocation detail for 75,000 taxing entities, to document a nationwide "assessment gap" which leads local governments to place a disproportionate fiscal burden on racial and ethnic minorities. We show that holding jurisdictions and property tax rates fixed, black and Hispanic residents nonetheless face a 10-13% higher tax burden for the same bundle of public services. This assessment gap arises through two channels. First, property assessments are less sensitive to neighborhood attributes than market prices are. ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 34

Working Paper
Does Access to Free Pre-Kindergarten Increase Maternal Labor Supply?

We evaluate the effects of free pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) programs on the labor force participation of mothers. We use variation in Pre-K rules across all U.S. states, including income eligibility requirements in some states. To estimate the causal effects of access to Pre-K on labor supply, we exploit the panel aspect of the monthly Current Population Survey between 2002 and 2019. Specifically, we look at the change in labor market behavior of women when their child becomes age-eligible for Pre-K, controlling for individual factors. We find that access to free Pre-K programs increases overall ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 21-11

Working Paper
The Smart Money is in Cash? Financial Literacy and Liquid Savings Among U.S. Families

Most financial advisors recommend storing three to six months of expenses in liquid assets in case of an emergency. Yet we estimate that more than half of U.S. families do not have at least three months of their non-discretionary expenses in liquid savings. We find that financial literacy is strongly predictive of having three months of liquid savings, controlling for income, income variability, and even parental resources. We also find that financial literacy predicts liquid savings across the income distribution. These results indicate that accumulation of an emergency fund is not ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-076

Working Paper
Credit Score Doctors

We study how the existence of cutoffs in credit scores affects the behavior of homebuyers. Borrowers are more likely to purchase houses after their credit scores cross over a cutoff to qualify them for a higher credit score bin. However, the credit accounts of these individuals (crossover group) are more likely to become delinquent within four years following home purchases than the accounts of those who had stayed in the same bin (non-crossover group). The effect is not only concentrated in subprime bins, but in other bins as well. It is neither limited to pre-crisis period nor curtailed by ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-07

Journal Article
How Much Would China’s GDP Respond to a Slowdown in Housing Activity?

We analyze China's interindustry connections and show that China?s housing activity has become increasingly important to its GDP growth. Our results suggest that a 10 percent decline in final demand for real estate and housing-related construction would lead to a decline in total output of 2.2 percent, an effect more than two times larger than it would have been 10 years ago.
Macro Bulletin , Issue September 12, 2018 , Pages 1-5

Journal Article
Spending Patterns and Cost of Living for Younger versus Older Households

Older households have faced slightly higher inflation rates than younger households over the past 40 years, though this gap is narrowing.
Economic Review , Issue Q IV , Pages 5-21

Newsletter
What are the consequences of missed payments on consumer debts?

In order to understand better how the unfolding economic crisis is likely to affect U.S. households, this Chicago Fed Letter looks at what happens when borrowers miss debt payments and how long it takes for them to face a severe adverse consequence, such as foreclosure, wage garnishment, or repossession.
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue 437 , Pages 8

Working Paper
Consumption-Based Asset Pricing When Consumers Make Mistakes

I analyze the implications of allowing consumers to make mistakes on the risk-return relationships predicted by consumption-based asset pricing models. I allow for consumption mistakes using a model in which a portfolio manager selects investments on a consumer's behalf. The consumer has an arbitrary consumption policy that could reflect a wide range of mistakes. For power utility, expected returns do not generally depend on exposure to single-period consumption shocks, but robustly depend on exposure to both long-run consumption and expected return shocks. I empirically show that separately ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2021-015

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