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Mortgage Modification and Strategic Behavior: Evidence from a Legal Settlement with Countrywide

Author

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  • Christopher Mayer
  • Edward Morrison
  • Tomasz Piskorski
  • Arpit Gupta

Abstract

We investigate whether homeowners respond strategically to news of mortgage modification programs. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in modification policy induced by settlement of U.S. state government lawsuits against Countrywide Financial Corporation, which agreed to offer modifications to seriously delinquent borrowers. Using a difference-in-difference framework, we find that Countrywide's monthly delinquency rate increased more than 0.54 percentage points—a ten percent relative increase—immediately after the settlement's announcement. The estimated increase in default rates is largest among borrowers least likely to default otherwise. These results suggest that strategic behavior should be an important consideration in designing mortgage modification programs. (JEL D10, G21, G33, K00)

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Mayer & Edward Morrison & Tomasz Piskorski & Arpit Gupta, 2014. "Mortgage Modification and Strategic Behavior: Evidence from a Legal Settlement with Countrywide," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2830-2857, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:104:y:2014:i:9:p:2830-57
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.9.2830
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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