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Real estate

Politicizing Consumer Credit,” (w/ P. Akey and S. Lewellen, 2021)

Journal of Financial Economics, 139(2): 627-655.

Powerful politicians can interfere with the enforcement of regulations. As such, expected political interference can affect constituents’ behavior. Using rotations of Senate committee chairs to identify variation in political power and expected regulatory relief, we study powerful politicians’ effect on consumer lending to communities protected by fair-lending regulations. We find a 7.5% reduction in credit access to minority neighborhoods in states with new committee chairs. Larger reductions occur in Community Reinvestment Act-eligible neighborhoods and when Senators serve on committees that oversee the enforcement of fair-lending laws. Banks headquartered in powerful Senators’ states are responsible for the reduction in credit access.

Using High-Frequency Evaluations to Estimate Disparate Treatment: Evidence from Loan Officers,” (w/ M. Giacoletti and E. Yu)

Best paper winner at MFA 2021

R&R, Review of Financial Studies

We develop modified benchmarking tests for disparate treatment that we apply to 25 years of mortgage lending. Our tests limit the scope for omitted variables by linking high-frequency mortgage decisions to an economic mechanism—loan officers have volume quotas that cause increased approval rates at month-end. We estimate that these quotas at least halve the unexplained 7 ppt Black approval gap. Loan officers more likely to miss their quotas have larger increases in Black approvals. Suggesting supply-side mechanisms, applications arrive at a constant rate within-month, and neither differences in credit risk nor applicant preferences explain the month-end decline in racial differences.

Single Family REITs and Local Housing Markets, “(w/ Giacoletti, Li, and Yu)

Institutional investors in single-family housing markets are often represented as worsening household well-being. We document the growth of single-family REITs (SFRs) and their (non-)effects on housing markets by constructing a novel dataset of SFRs' underlying properties. SFRs purchase properties in neighborhoods encircling city centers, where housing supply is more elastic, and with populations facing homeownership barriers. Using a spatial differences empirical strategy, SFR growth relates to increased housing supply, lower mortgage approval rates, and modest price increases. These findings likely capture SFRs' selection of neighborhoods rather than causal effects. SFR asset returns mirror representative housing portfolios despite their concentrated holdings.

Intergenerational Homeownership and Mortgage Distress,” (w/ N. Fritsch)

FRB-CLE Economic Commentary, June 2020.

Rates of US homeownership have declined in the past two decades, and the decline has been especially pronounced for young adults. Motivated by recent research that explores the ways in which personal experiences can affect financial attitudes and beliefs, we explore whether the negative homeownership experiences of parents during the 2008 financial crisis could have caused their children to view homeownership less favorably. We find that parental mortgage distress negatively correlates with the probability that a child will purchase a home, and we explore various channels through which this link may occur.

Uncovering the Demand for Housing Using Internet Search Volume,” (w/ D. Kolliner and T. Stehulak)

FRB-CLE Economic Trends, 2015.

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