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Statistical Evidence of Mortgage Redlining? A Cautionary Tale



Statistical analyses of mortgage redlining at the neighborhood level have fueled the debate over the existence of racial redlining in mortgage lending, both "proving" and "disproving" that redlining exists, depending upon the type of model used. In this paper, we compare results of different statistical models using data for the Washington, DC metropolitan area to determine their usefulness in providing statistical evidence on this issue. After demonstrating the sensitivity of single-equation models to specification error, we estimate a simultaneous equations model of mortgage credit flows. This model makes it possible to analyze differences in the supply and demand for mortgage credit by the racial composition of the community. We conclude that most, if not all, statistical evidence of racial redlining based on aggregate loan data is at best inconclusive, and more likely, misleading.

Suggested Citation

  • Fred J. Phillips-Patrick & Clifford V. Rossi, 1996. "Statistical Evidence of Mortgage Redlining? A Cautionary Tale," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 11(1), pages 13-24.
  • Handle: RePEc:jre:issued:v:11:n:1:1996:p:13-24

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    1. Michael H. Schill & Susan M. Wachter, "undated". "A Tale of Two Cities: Racial and Ethnic Geographic Disparities in Home Mortgage Lending in Boston and Philadelphia," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-93, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
    2. Anthony M.J. Yezer & Robert F. Phillips & Robert P. Trost, 1994. "Bias in estimates of discrimination and default in mortgage lending: the effects of simultaneity and self-selection," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, pages 197-222.
    3. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jfsres:v:52:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10693-016-0246-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2008. "Credit card redlining," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU08-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Harrison, David M., 2001. "The Importance of Lender Heterogeneity in Mortgage Lending," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 285-309, March.
    4. C. Sirmans & Barrett Slade, 2012. "National Transaction-based Land Price Indices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(4), pages 829-845, November.
    5. Solomon Y. Deku & Alper Kara & Phil Molyneux, 2014. "Access to Consumer Credit in the UK," Working Papers 14004, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).

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    JEL classification:

    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services


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