Following Borrowers through Forbearance
Today, the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data reported that total household debt balances increased slightly in the third quarter of 2020, according to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. This increase marked a reversal from the modest decline in the second quarter of 2020, a downturn driven by a sharp contraction in credit card balances. In the third quarter, credit card balances declined again, even as consumer spending recovered somewhat; meanwhile, mortgage originations came in at a robust $1.049 trillion, the highest level since 2003. Many of the efforts ...
Debt Relief and the CARES Act: Which Borrowers Face the Most Financial Strain?
In yesterday's post, we studied the expected debt relief from the CARES Act on mortgagors and student debt borrowers. We now turn our attention to the 63 percent of American borrowers who do not have a mortgage or student loan. These borrowers will not directly benefit from the loan forbearance provisions of the CARES Act, although they may be able to receive some types of leniency that many lenders have voluntarily provided. We ask who these borrowers are, by age, geography, race and income, and how does their financial health compare with other borrowers.
Unemployment Insurance during a Pandemic
The CARES Act implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis dramatically increases the generosity of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, triggering concerns about its substantial impact on unemployment. This paper combines a labor market search-matching model with the SIR-type infection dynamics to study the effects of CARES UI on both unemployment and infection. More generous UI policies create work disincentives and lead to higher unemployment, but they also reduce infection and save lives. Economic shutdown policies further amplify these effects of UI policies. Quantitatively, the CARES ...
Fiscal Policy during a Pandemic
I study the effects of the 2020 coronavirus outbreak in the United States and subsequent fiscal policy response in a nonlinear DSGE model. The pandemic is a shock to the utility of contact-intensive services that propagates to other sectors via general equilibrium, triggering a deep recession. I use a calibrated version of the model that matches the path of the US unemployment rate in 2020 to analyze different types of fiscal policies. I find that UI benefits are the most effective tool to stabilize income for borrowers, who are the hardest hit, while liquidity assistance programs are ...
State Budget Surpluses, the COVID-19 Impact, and ARPA Funds
The COVID-19 Fiscal Multiplier: Lessons from the Great Recession
The United States enacted a series of fiscal relief and stimulus bills in recent weeks, centered around the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The current fiscal response shares key similarities to the fiscal stimulus enacted during the Great Recession. Research over the past 10 years on the macroeconomic impact of that stimulus thus has important implications for the current fiscal response. The results point to a large potential impact on GDP.
Debt Relief and the CARES Act: Which Borrowers Benefit the Most?
COVID-19 and associated social distancing measures have had major labor market ramifications, with massive job losses and furloughs. Millions of people have filed jobless claims since mid-March—6.9 million in the week of March 28 alone. These developments will surely lead to financial hardship for millions of Americans, especially those who hold outstanding debts while facing diminishing or disappearing wages. The CARES Act, passed by Congress on April 2, 2020, provided $2.2 trillion in disaster relief to combat the economic impacts of COVID-19. Among other measures, it included mortgage ...
Where Have the Paycheck Protection Loans Gone So Far?
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a central piece of the CARES Act. In the program’s first round, $349 billion in forgivable government-guaranteed loans were extended to small businesses to cover costs related to payroll and utilities, as well as mortgage and rent payments. The program opened for applications on April 3 and was oversubscribed by April 16. Because of its popularity, lawmakers passed a new bill replenishing the fund with another $310 billion and the Small Business Administration (SBA) started approving loans again on April 27. With a new round of PPP lending underway, ...
Household Liquidity and Macroeconomic Stabilization: Evidence from Mortgage Forbearance
We estimate the impact of household liquidity provision on macroeconomic stabilization using the 2020 CARES Act mortgage forbearance program. We leverage intermediation frictions in forbearance induced by mortgage servicers to identify the effect of reducing short-term payments with little change in long-term debt obligations on local labor market outcomes. Following statewide business reopenings, a 1 percentage point increase in the share of mortgages in forbearance leads to a 30 basis point increase in monthly employment growth in nontradable industries. In a model incorporating ...