Unemployment, negative equity, and strategic default
AbstractUsing new household-level data, we quantitatively assess the roles that job loss, negative equity, and wealth (including unsecured debt, liquid assets, and illiquid assets) play in default decisions. In sharp contrast to prior studies that proxy for individual unemployment status using regional unemployment rates, we find that individual unemployment is the strongest predictor of default. We find that individual unemployment increases the probability of default by 5–13 percentage points, ceteris paribus, compared with the sample average default rate of 3.9 percent. We also find that only 13.9 percent of defaulters have both negative equity and enough liquid or illiquid assets to make one month's mortgage payment. This finding suggests that "ruthless" or "strategic" default during the 2007–09 recession was relatively rare and that policies designed to promote employment, such as payroll tax cuts, are most likely to stem defaults in the long run rather than policies that temporarily modify mortgages.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2013-04.
Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2013
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
- E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
- E51 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Money Supply; Credit; Money Multipliers
- E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
- G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
- G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
- L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services
- R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-08-16 (All new papers)
- NEP-SPO-2013-08-16 (Sports & Economics)
- NEP-URE-2013-08-16 (Urban & Real Estate Economics)
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