Cost of Banking for LMI and Minority Communities
Bank accounts are critical for participation in the modern economy. However, these accounts frequently require maintenance fees and incur overdraft charges. We assess whether minimum account balances to avoid fees, account maintenance fee amounts, and non-sufficient funds charges are systematically different in LMI and majority-minority communities, and find that they are generally higher. For example, the minimum account balance to avoid fees in a non-interest checking account is about $50 higher in LMI Census tracts than in higher income tracts, and $75 higher in majority-minority tracts. ...
Prior Fraud Exposure and Precautionary Credit Market Behavior
This paper studies how past experiences with privacy shocks affect individuals’ take-up of precautionary behavior when faced with a new privacy shock in the context of credit markets. We focus on experiences with identity theft and data breaches, two kinds of privacy shocks that either directly lead to fraud or put an individual at an elevated risk of experiencing fraud. Using the announcement of the 2017 Equifax data breach, we show that individuals with either kind of prior fraud exposure were more likely to freeze their credit report and close credit card accounts than individuals with ...
CMBS Market Evolution and Emerging Risks
We study the evolution of the private-label CMBS market from one dominated by broadly diversified long-term, fixed-rate conduit securitizations to one dominated in 2021–22 by undiversified short-term, floating-rate Single-Asset, Single-Borrower (SASB) securitizations. Twenty-five years of stable bond returns and exceptionally low losses help explain the growth and standardization of the SASB market following the Global Financial Crisis. Historically low interest rates and pandemic-era dislocations help explain the recent dominance of short-term, floating-rate SASBs. Factors contributing to ...
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 ...
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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
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.
Your Friends, Your Credit: Social Capital Measures Derived from Social Media and the Credit Market
Chetty et al. (2022a) introduced an array of social capital measures derived from Facebook friendships and found that one of these indicators, economic connectedness (EC), predicted upward income mobility well. Bricker and Li (2017) proposed the average credit score of a community's residents as an indicator of local social trust. We show in this paper that the average credit scores are robustly correlated with EC, negatively correlated with the friending-bias measure introduced in Chetty et al. (2022b), and predict economic mobility to a comparable extent after controlling for EC. The ...
Retail Investors’ Contrarian Behavior Around News, Attention, and the Momentum Effect
Using a large panel of U.S. brokerage accounts trades and positions, we show that a large fraction of retail investors trade as contrarians after large earnings surprises, especially for loser stocks, and that such contrarian trading contributes to post earnings announcement drift (PEAD) and price momentum. Indeed, when we double-sort by momentum portfolios and retail trading flows, PEAD and momentum are only present in the top two quintiles of retail trading intensity. Finer sorts confirm the results, as do sorts by firm size and institutional ownership level. We show that the investors in ...