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Financial literacy and mortgage equity withdrawals

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  • John V. Duca
  • Anil Kumar

Abstract

The recent U.S. consumption boom and the subsequent surge in mortgage defaults have been linked to mortgage equity withdrawals (MEWs). MEWs are correlated with covariates consistent with a permanent income framework augmented for credit-constraints. Nevertheless, many households are financially illiterate. We assess the unexplored linkages between “active MEW” and measures of financial literacy using panel data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Findings indicate that declines in mortgage interest rates encouraged MEWs. Nevertheless, financially illiterate households were significantly more likely to withdraw housing equity via traditional first or second mortgages (including cash-out mortgage refinancings but not home equity loans).> ; We find that the financially less savvy are 3–5 percentage points more likely to engage in this type of MEW relative to those who answered financial literacy questions correctly. Also significant were state differences in debtor versus creditor interests in bankruptcy, with loan demand effects outweighing loan supply effects across states.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in its series Working Papers with number 1110.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:feddwp:1110

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Keywords: Consumption (Economics) - United States ; Credit control;

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Cited by:
  1. Xu, Lisa & Zia, Bilal, 2012. "Financial literacy around the world : an overview of the evidence with practical suggestions for the way forward," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6107, The World Bank.
  2. Janet Currie & Erdal Tekin, 2011. "Is there a Link Between Foreclosure and Health?," NBER Working Papers 17310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Costantini, Mauro & Paradiso, Antonio, 2013. "Re-examining the decline in the US saving rate: The impact of mortgage equity withdrawal," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 215-225.
  4. Elsa Fornero & Maria Cristina Rossi & Maria Cesira Urzì Brancati, 2011. "Explaining why, right or wrong, (Italian) households do not like reverse mortgages," CeRP Working Papers 123, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  5. Elsa Fornero & Chiara Monticone & Serena Trucchi, 2011. "The effect of financial literacy on mortgage choices," CeRP Working Papers 121, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  6. Thomas A. Garrett, 2011. "A Federal Reserve System conference on research in applied microeconomics," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Nov, pages 455-462.
  7. Paradiso, Antonio & Casadio, Paolo & Rao, B. Bhaskara, 2012. "US inflation and consumption: A long-term perspective with a level shift," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 1837-1849.
  8. Tyler Atkinson & David Luttrell & Harvey Rosenblum, 2013. "How bad was it? The costs and consequences of the 2007–09 financial crisis," Staff Papers, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Jul.

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