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The Government Sponsored Enterprises: Recovering From a Failed Experiment

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  • Jaffee, Dwight M.
  • Quigley, John M.

Abstract

The Federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last September spells the end of an experiment in the public-private hybrid known as the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE). This paper documents the subsidies provided to the enterprises and the public and private benefits generated. The public benefits included somewhat reduced interest rates for borrowers receiving conforming mortgages. The public subsidies allowed the firms to use the implicit guarantee of their debts to borrow at attractive rates to invest in mortgage portfolios and also to provide a fee-based service in issuing mortgage-backed securities. We suggest reforming the functions provided by the GSEs. In particular we advocate spinning off the portfolio investment activities into a fully private firm. We also advocate conducting the services necessary to issue mortgage-backed securities within a government-owned corporation responsible directly to federal authorities. These reforms would curb excess risk taking in the secondary mortgage market and would provide the liquidity necessary to support the primary mortgage market.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaffee, Dwight M. & Quigley, John M., 2009. "The Government Sponsored Enterprises: Recovering From a Failed Experiment," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt8v17v5vz, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:bphupl:qt8v17v5vz
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. John M. Quigley, 2006. "Federal credit and insurance programs: housing," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 281-310.
    2. Jaffee, Dwight M. & Quigley, John M., 2008. "Mortgage Guarantee Programs and the Subprime Crisis," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt15d5h9s2, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    3. Wayne Passmore, 2005. "The GSE Implicit Subsidy and the Value of Government Ambiguity," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 465-486, September.
    4. W. Scott Frame & Lawrence J. White, 2005. "Fussing and Fuming over Fannie and Freddie: How Much Smoke, How Much Fire?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(2), pages 159-184, Spring.
    5. Wayne Passmore & Shane M. Sherlund & Gillian Burgess, 2005. "The Effect of Housing Government-Sponsored Enterprises on Mortgage Rates," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 427-463, September.
    6. Jaffee, Dwight M. & Quigley, John M., 2007. "Housing Subsidies and Homeowners: What Role for Government-Sponsored Enterprises?," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt6g8986r5, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
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    Cited by:

    1. W. Scott Frame & Larry D. Wall & Lawrence J. White, 2012. "The Devil's in the Tail: Residential Mortgage Finance and the U.S. Treasury," Working Papers 12-12, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Diego A. Salzman & Remco C.J. Zwinkels, 2013. "Behavioural Real Estate," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-088/IV/DSF58, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Dwight M. Jaffee & John M. Quigley, 1975. "Housing Policy, Mortgage Policy, and the Federal Housing Administration," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring and Managing Federal Financial Risk, pages 97-125 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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