Jobs in Springfield, Massachusetts: understanding and remedying the causes of low resident employment rates
As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper explores the causes of and potential remedies for the city's low resident employment rates. When compared to the state as a whole and to other midsize New England cities, the share of employed city residents is low, particularly for residents of downtown Springfield and its nearby neighborhoods. By analyzing the availability of jobs across Springfield's various neighborhoods and in nearby towns and cities, this paper's goal is to learn why so few ...
Foreclosure externalities: some new evidence
In a recent set of influential papers, researchers have argued that residential mortgage foreclosures reduce the sale prices of nearby properties. We revisit this issue using a more robust identification strategy combined with new data that contain information on the location of properties secured by seriously delinquent mortgages and information on the condition of foreclosed properties. We find that while properties in virtually all stages of distress have statistically significant, negative effects on nearby home values, the magnitudes are economically small, peak before the distressed ...
Subprime mortgages, foreclosures, and urban neighborhoods
This paper analyzes the impact of the subprime crisis on urban neighborhoods in Massachusetts. The topic is explored using a dataset that matches race and income information from HMDA with property-level, transaction data from Massachusetts registry of deeds offices. With these data, we show that much of the subprime lending in the state was concentrated in urban neighborhoods and that minority homeownerships created with subprime mortgages have proven exceptionally unstable in the face of rapid price declines. The evidence from Massachusetts suggests that subprime lending did not, as is ...
Changes in U.S. household balance sheet behavior after the housing bust and Great Recession: evidence from panel data
This paper uses panel data through 2011 to examine evidence of shifts in household balance sheet behavior following the financial crisis and Great Recession. The paper considers evidence of balance sheet repair through debt repayment as well as changes in the composition of households? balance sheets and/or saving decisions to determine whether households? desire for holding or investing in riskier versus safer assets has changed. The data show relatively small and limited balance sheet adjustment?especially for those households considered the most likely to have been impacted by the economic ...
Pension accounting and corporate earnings: the world according to GAAP
This study?s underlying premise is that current pension plan accounting has two important negative effects. First, it distorts the measurement of earnings and net worth in the short run, as well as the pattern of earnings over future periods. Second, this distortion can send incorrect signals to investors about a firm?s health, resulting in the mispricing of a firm?s outstanding debt and equity instruments. The author demonstrates how these distortions are introduced, examines the magnitude of the distortions, and discusses proposals for reform.
Shifting confidence in homeownership: the Great Recession
The authors study the responses to several questions related to real estate that were added to the Michigan Survey of Consumers in July and August 2011. In particular, they asked about attitudes toward renting versus buying a home, about commuting, and about how much to spend on a mortgage. By matching the results to data (at the ZIP-code level) about relative house price declines during the recent crisis, they can study the relationship between the U.S. housing crash and the attitudes of individual consumers. They find that younger respondents are relatively less confident about ...
Reasonable people did disagree : optimism and pessimism about the U.S. housing market before the crash
Understanding the evolution of real-time beliefs about house price appreciation is central to understanding the U.S. housing crisis. At the peak of the recent housing cycle, both borrowers and lenders appealed to optimistic house price forecasts to justify undertaking increasingly risky loans. Many observers have argued that these rosy forecasts ignored basic theoretical and empirical evidence that pointed to a massive overvaluation of housing and thus to an inevitable and severe price decline. We revisit the boom years and show that the economics profession provided little such ...
Do households benefit from financial deregulation and innovation?: the case of the mortgage market
The U.S. mortgage market has experienced phenomenal change over the last 35 years. Most observers believe that the deregulation of the banking industry and financial markets generally has played an important part in this transformation. One issue that has received particular attention is the role that the housing Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have played in the development of a secondary market in mortgages. This paper develops and implements a technique for assessing the impact of changes in the mortgage market on individuals and households. ; Our ...
Economic literacy and inflation expectations: evidence from a laboratory experiment
We present new experimental evidence on heterogeneity in the formation of inflation expectations and relate the variation to economic literacy and demographics. The experimental design allows us to investigate two channels through which expectations-formation may vary across individuals: (1) the choice of information and (2) the use of given information. Subjects who are more economically literate perform better along both dimensions?they choose more-relevant information and make better use of given information. Compared with survey data on inflation expectations, fewer demographic factors ...
$1.25 Trillion is still real money : some facts about the effects of the Federal Reserve’s mortgage market investments
This paper measures the effects on the primary U.S. mortgage market of the large-scale asset purchase (LSAP) program in which the Federal Reserve bought $1.25 trillion of mortgage-backed securities in 2009 and 2010. We use an event-study approach and measure the movements in both prices and quantities around the initial announcement of the LSAP and subsequent changes to the program. We use a new dataset to document the changes in the menu of rates and points offered to borrowers and show that there was wide dispersion in the rate changes generated by the announcement of the LSAP program, with ...