Policy Intervention in Debt Renegotiation: Evidence from the Home Affordable Modification Program
AbstractThe main rationale for policy intervention in debt renegotiation is to enhance such activity when foreclosures are perceived to be inefficiently high. We examine the ability of the government to influence debt renegotiation by empirically evaluating the effects of the 2009 Home Affordable Modification Program that provided intermediaries (servicers) with sizeable financial incentives to renegotiate mortgages. A difference-in-difference strategy that exploits variation in program eligibility criteria reveals that the program generated an increase in the intensity of renegotiations while adversely affecting effectiveness of renegotiations performed outside the program. Renegotiations induced by the program resulted in a modest reduction in rate of foreclosures but did not alter the rate of house price decline, durable consumption, or employment in regions with higher exposure to the program. The overall impact of the program will be substantially limited since it will induce renegotiations that will reach just one-third of its targeted 3 to 4 million indebted households. This shortfall is in large part due to low renegotiation intensity of a few large servicers that responded at half the rate than others. The muted response of these servicers cannot be accounted by differences in contract, borrower, or regional characteristics of mortgages across servicers. Instead, their low renegotiation activity--which is also observed before the program--reflects servicer specific factors that appear to be related to their preexisting organizational capabilities. Our findings reveal that the ability of government to quickly induce changes in behavior of large intermediaries through financial incentives is quite limited, underscoring significant barriers to the effectiveness of such polices.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2012-20.
Date of creation: Nov 2012
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Sumit Agarwal & Gene Amromin & Itzhak Ben-David & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Tomasz Piskorski & Amit Seru, 2012. "Policy Intervention in Debt Renegotiation: Evidence from the Home Affordable Modification Program," NBER Working Papers 18311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
- E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
- G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
- G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
- H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-01-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-MAC-2013-01-19 (Macroeconomics)
- NEP-SEA-2013-01-19 (South East Asia)
- NEP-URE-2013-01-19 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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