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Mortgages as Recursive Contracts


  • Milton H. Marquis
  • John Krainer


Mortgages are one-sided contracts under which the borrower may terminate the contract at any time, while the lender must commit to honoring the terms of the contract throughout its life. There are two aspects to this feature of the contract that are modeled in this paper. The first is that the borrower may choose between buying a house or renting. Given these alternatives, a contract between a household and a lender makes homeownership feasible, and provides insurance to the household against fluctuating rental payments. The second is that once in a contract, the household may terminate the contract by refinancing the future mortgage, and thus enter into a new contract. This option will be exercised whenever a combination of house price appreciation and declines in the mortgage rate is sufficient to increase the ex ante expected lifetime utility from the new versus the old contract

Suggested Citation

  • Milton H. Marquis & John Krainer, 2004. "Mortgages as Recursive Contracts," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 434, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:nawm04:434

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 763-789.
    2. Bennett, Paul & Peach, Richard & Peristiani, Stavros, 2001. "Structural Change in the Mortgage Market and the Propensity to Refinance," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(4), pages 955-975, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ebrahim, M. Shahid & Shackleton, Mark B. & Wojakowski, Rafal M., 2011. "Participating mortgages and the efficiency of financial intermediation," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 3042-3054, November.
    2. Calza, Alessandro & Monacelli, Tommaso & Stracca, Livio, 2006. "Mortgage markets, collateral constraints, and monetary policy: Do institutional factors matter?," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/10, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

    More about this item


    Mortgages; refinancing; recursive contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages

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