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The Transformation of Mortgage Finance and the Industrial Roots of the Mortgage Meltdown

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  • Fligstein, Neil
  • Goldstein, Adam

Abstract

The 2007-2009 financial crisis was centered on the mortgage industry. This paper develops a distinctly sociological explanation of that crisis based on Fligstein’s (1996) markets as politics approach and the sociology of finance. We use archival and secondary sources to show that the industry became dominated by an “industrial†conception of control whereby financial firms vertically integrated in order to capture profits in all phases of the mortgage industry including the production of financial products. The results of multivariate regression analyses show that the “industrial†model drove the deterioration in the quality of securities that firms issued and significantly contributed to the eventual failure of the firms that pursued the strategy. We show that large global banks which were more involved in the industrial production of U.S. mortgage securities also experienced greater investment losses. The findings challenge existing conventional accounts of the crisis and provide important theoretical linkages to the sociology of finance

Suggested Citation

  • Fligstein, Neil & Goldstein, Adam, 2012. "The Transformation of Mortgage Finance and the Industrial Roots of the Mortgage Meltdown," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2zx8r7fb, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt2zx8r7fb
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    4. Gorton, Gary B., 2010. "Slapped by the Invisible Hand: The Panic of 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199734153.
    5. Christopher Mayer & Karen Pence & Shane M. Sherlund, 2009. "The Rise in Mortgage Defaults," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 27-50, Winter.
    6. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2009. "The Credit Crisis: Conjectures about Causes and Remedies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 606-610, May.
    7. Daniel Beunza & David Stark, 2004. "Tools of the trade: the socio-technology of arbitrage in a Wall Street trading room," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 369-400, April.
    8. Christopher James & Joel Houston, 1996. "Evolution Or Extinction: Where Are Banks Headed?," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 9(2), pages 8-23.
    9. Ravi Jagannathan & Mudit Kapoor & Ernst Schaumburg, 2009. "Causes of the Great Recession of 2007-9: The Financial Crisis is the Symptom not the Disease!," NBER Working Papers 15404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Keywords

    Social and Behavioral Sciences; Mortgage Finance; Mortgage Meltdown;

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