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The Failure of Models That Predict Failure: Distance, Incentives, and Defaults

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  • Seru, Amit

    (Stanford University)

  • Rajan, Uday
  • Vig, Vikrant

Abstract

Statistical default models, widely used to assess default risk, fail to account for a change in the relations between different variables resulting from an underlying change in agent behavior. We demonstrate this phenomenon using data on securitized subprime mortgages issued in the period 1997-2006. As the level of securitization increases, lenders have an incentive to originate loans that rate high based on characteristics that are reported to investors, even if other unreported variables imply a lower borrower quality. Consistent with this behavior, we find that over time lenders set interest rates only on the basis of variables that are reported to investors, ignoring other credit-relevant information. As a result, among borrowers with similar reported characteristics, over time the set that receives loans becomes worse along the unreported information dimension. This change in lender behavior alters the data generating process by transforming the mapping from observables to loan defaults. To illustrate this effect, we show that the interest rate on a loan becomes a worse predictor of default as securitization increases. Moreover, a statistical default model estimated in a low securitization period breaks down in a high securitization period in a systematic manner: it underpredicts defaults among borrowers for whom soft information is more valuable. Regulations that rely on such models to assess default risk could, therefore, be undermined by the actions of market participants.

Suggested Citation

  • Seru, Amit & Rajan, Uday & Vig, Vikrant, 2015. "The Failure of Models That Predict Failure: Distance, Incentives, and Defaults," Research Papers 3464, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:3464
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Cortés, Kristle & Duchin, Ran & Sosyura, Denis, 2016. "Clouded judgment: The role of sentiment in credit origination," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 392-413.
    2. Mariassunta Giannetti & José María Liberti & Jason Sturgess, 2017. "Information Sharing and Rating Manipulation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, pages 3269-3304.
    3. Alexander Ludwig & Matthias Schön, 2013. "Endogenous Grids in Higher Dimensions: Delaunay Interpolation and Hybrid Methods," Working Paper Series in Economics 65, University of Cologne, Department of Economics, revised 11 Jun 2014.
    4. Ho, Po-Hsin & Huang, Chia-Wei & Lin, Chih-Yung & Yen, Ju-Fang, 2016. "CEO overconfidence and financial crisis: Evidence from bank lending and leverage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 194-209.
    5. Eufinger, Christian & Gill, Andrej, 2016. "Incentive-based capital requirements," SAFE Working Paper Series 9 [rev.], Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    6. Skrastins, Janis & Vig, Vikrant, 2015. "How organizational hierarchy affects information production," IMFS Working Paper Series 92, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    7. Giovanni Ferri & Pierluigi Murro & Valentina Peruzzi & Zeno Rotondi, 2017. "Bank lending technologies and credit availability in Europe. What can we learn from the crisis?," CERBE Working Papers wpC17, CERBE Center for Relationship Banking and Economics.
    8. Simon Cornée & Panu Kalmi & Ariane Szafarz, 2016. "Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking: Evidence from Europe," Economics Working Paper Archive (University of Rennes 1 & University of Caen) 2016-03, Center for Research in Economics and Management (CREM), University of Rennes 1, University of Caen and CNRS.
    9. Floros, Ioannis & White, Joshua T., 2016. "Qualified residential mortgages and default risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 86-104.
    10. Simon Cornée & Panu Kalmi & Ariane Szafarz, 2015. "Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking: Evidence from Europe," Working Papers CEB 15-047, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Behn, Markus & Haselmann, Rainer & Vig, Vikrant, 2016. "The limits of model-based regulation," Working Paper Series 1928, European Central Bank.
    12. Raymond Fisman & Daniel Paravisini & Vikrant Vig, 2017. "Cultural Proximity and Loan Outcomes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 457-492.
    13. Simon Cornée & Panu Kalmi & Ariane Szafarz, 2015. "Selectivity and Transparency in Social Banking: Evidence from Europe," Working Papers CEB 15-047, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    14. Demyanyk, Yuliya & Loutskina, Elena, 2016. "Mortgage companies and regulatory arbitrage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, pages 328-351.
    15. Cortes, Kristle Romero & Duchin, Ran & Sosyura, Denis, 2016. "Clouded Judgment: The Role of Sentiment in Credit Origination," Working Paper 1601, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    16. repec:eee:juecon:v:99:y:2017:i:c:p:79-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:oup:rcorpf:v:4:y:2015:i:2:p:155-205. is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Buchak, Greg & Matvos, Gregor & Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit, 2017. "Fintech, Regulatory Arbitrage, and the Rise of Shadow Banks," Research Papers 3511, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    19. Lee, Yongwoong & Rösch, Daniel & Scheule, Harald, 2016. "Accuracy of mortgage portfolio risk forecasts during financial crises," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, pages 440-456.
    20. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2014. "Are rules and boundaries sufficient to limit harmful central bank discretion? Lessons from Europe," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, pages 121-125.
    21. An, Xudong & Cordell, Lawrence R., 2017. "Regime Shift And The Post-Crisis World Of Mortgage Loss Severities," Working Papers 17-8, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G28 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Government Policy and Regulation

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