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Jel Classification:R51 

Working Paper
Do Minorities Pay More for Mortgages?

We test for racial discrimination in the prices charged by mortgage lenders. We construct a unique dataset where we observe all three dimensions of a mortgage's price: the interest rate, discount points, and fees. While we find statistically significant gaps by race and ethnicity in interest rates, these gaps are offset by differences in discount points. We trace out point-rate schedules and show that minorities and whites face identical schedules, but sort to different locations on the schedule. Such sorting may reflect systematic differences in liquidity or preferences. Finally, we find no ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-007

Discussion Paper
Can Community Development Improve Health? Emerging Opportunities for Collaboration between the Health and Community Development Sectors

The two sectors of community development and health have long worked in the same neighborhoods, but they have not always worked together. This is starting to change, due in part to a growing recognition among health experts of the social, economic, and environmental factors that drive health outcomes. These social determinants of health have become the basis for new collaborations between community development and health professionals. This paper introduces professionals in both sectors to this emerging area of practice through a series of case studies of innovators in the southeastern United ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2017-3

Working Paper
Financial Innovations and Issuer Sophistication in Municipal Securities Markets

When local governments default or file for bankruptcy, it is often because public officials misunderstood the risks associated with innovative financial products. If unsophisticated municipal bond issuers were to widely adopt a high risk financial product, this could harm taxpayers and investors, as well as destabilize the financial system. This analysis uses municipal bond issuers? total debt outstanding as a proxy for their sophistication and investigates the relationship between sophistication and adoption of financial innovations. Using comprehensive data on securities issued between 1992 ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1404

Working Paper
Household Debt and Local Public Finances

In the wake of the Great Recession, steep declines in state and local government expenditures and employment were a large and persistent source of economic weakness. The business cycle was also characterized by large increases and decreases in household debt. We estimate the extent to which variation in local government revenues and expenditures can be explained by variation in the expansion of household debt from 2002 to 2007, and the contraction thereafter. We merge individual credit balance data with municipal financial data from the Census of Governments. Using Census block indicators, we ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1431

Report
Still not out of the woods? New Jersey schools during the recession and beyond

Schools are essential in forming human capital and in improving the long-term health of the economy. They are also heavily reliant on state and local funds, which were severely depleted during the Great Recession. To alleviate some of the strain on local budgets, the federal government passed and implemented a large stimulus package, which included funds for school districts. However, the stimulus funds were drawn down beginning in 2011, at a time when state and local revenues were still under pressure. In this paper, we use a detailed panel data set of all school districts in New Jersey for ...
Staff Reports , Paper 632

Report
Pay with Promises or Pay as You Go? Lessons from the Death Spiral of Detroit

As part of compensation, municipal employees typically receive promises of future benefits. Motivated by the recent bankruptcy of Detroit, we develop a model of the equilibrium size of a city and use it to analyze how pay-with-promises schemes interact with city growth. The paper examines the circumstances under which a death spiral arises, where cutbacks of city services and increases in taxes lead to an exodus of residents, compounding financial distress. The model is put to work to analyze issues such as the welfare effects of having cities absorb pension risk and how unions affect the ...
Staff Report , Paper 501

Working Paper
Effects of State Taxation on Investment: Evidence from the Oil Industry

We provide theoretical and empirical evidence that firms do not in general respond equally to changes in prices and taxes in the setting of oil well drilling in the United States. Our key theoretical contribution is that in a multi-state model, a change in output price changes both the benefit and opportunity cost of drilling, whereas a change in a state tax rate only changes the benefit of drilling in that state. Thus, a firm responds more to a change in tax than a change in price. Our econometric results support this theoretical prediction. We find that a one dollar per barrel increase in ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 18-7

Working Paper
Distance and Decline: The Case of Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia, prospered over two centuries as a center of production and trade. However, the city experienced economic difficulties beginning in the 1980s as a large number of layoffs at production plants in the area coincided with an erosion of retail trade in the city. Prolonged economic decline followed. In contrast, somewhat similar shocks in other moderate-sized cities in Virginia were followed by gradual economic recovery. We examine these differing outcomes and offer an explanation that hinges on the proximity of Petersburg to its larger neighbor, the greater Richmond area. We ...
Working Paper , Paper 18-16

Working Paper
On Regional Borrowing, Default, and Migration

Migration plays a key role in city finances with every new entrant reducing debt per person and every exit increasing it. We study the interactions between regional borrowing, migration, and default from empirical, theoretical, and quantitative perspectives. Empirically, we document that in-migration rates are positively correlated with deficits, that many cities appear to be at or near state-imposed borrowing limits, and that defaults can occur after booms or busts in productivity and population. Theoretically, we show that migration creates an externality that results in over-borrowing, and ...
Working Paper , Paper 19-4

Working Paper
Local Polynomial Regressions versus OLS for Generating Location Value Estimates: Which is More Efficient in Out-of-Sample Forecasts?

As an alternative to ordinary least squares (OLS), we estimate location values for single family houses using a standard housing price and characteristics dataset by local polynomial regressions (LPR), a semi-parametric procedure. We also compare the LPR and OLS models in the Denver metropolitan area in the years 2003, 2006 and 2010 with out-of-sample forecasting. We determine that the LPR model is more efficient than OLS at predicting location values in counties with greater densities of sales. Also, LPR outperforms OLS in 2010 for all 5 counties in our dataset. Our findings suggest that LPR ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-14

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