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Mortgage-Default Research and the Recent Foreclosure Crisis

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  • Christopher L. Foote

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts 02210, USA)

  • Paul S. Willen

    () (Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts 02210, USA)

Abstract

This article reviews the surge in research on mortgage default inspired by the recent foreclosure crisis. Economists already understood a great deal about default, both theoretically and empirically, when the crisis began, but new research has moved the frontier further by improving data sources, building dynamic optimizing models of default, and explicitly addressing reverse causality between rising foreclosures and falling house prices. Mortgage defaults also featured prominently in early papers that pointed to subprime and other privately securitized mortgages as fundamental drivers of the housing boom, although this research has been criticized recently. Going forward, improvements to data and models will allow researchers to make progress on the two central questions in this literature. First, what are the relative contributions of adverse life events and negative equity to mortgage default? Second, why is default so rare, even among people with deep negative equity or acute financial distress?

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher L. Foote & Paul S. Willen, 2018. "Mortgage-Default Research and the Recent Foreclosure Crisis," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 10(1), pages 59-100, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:refeco:v:10:y:2018:p:59-100
    DOI: 10.1146/annurev-financial-110217-022541
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-financial-110217-022541
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    Cited by:

    1. Manuel Adelino & W. Ben McCartney & Antoinette Schoar, 2020. "The Role of Government and Private Institutions in Credit Cycles in the U.S. Mortgage Market," Working Papers 20-40, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. Bracke, Philippe & Datta, Anupam & Jung, Carsten & Sen, Shayak, 2019. "Machine learning explainability in finance: an application to default risk analysis," Bank of England working papers 816, Bank of England.
    3. Michelle Bergmann, 2020. "The Determinants of Mortgage Defaults in Australia – Evidence for the Double-trigger Hypothesis," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2020-03, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    4. Manuel Adelino & William B. McCartney & Antoinette Schoar, 2020. "The Role of Government and Private Institutions in Credit Cycles in the U.S. Mortgage Market," NBER Working Papers 27499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Christopher L. Foote & Lara Loewenstein & Paul S. Willen, 2018. "Technological Innovation in Mortgage Underwriting and the Growth in Credit: 1985-2015," Working Papers (Old Series) 1816, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. Nadav Ben Zeev, 2019. "Adjustable-Rate Mortgages, Systematic Monetary Policy, And The Root Cause Of The Financial Crisis," Working Papers 1908, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    mortgage default; foreclosures; housing boom and bust; financial crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • 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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