IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Financial literacy and subprime mortgage delinquency: evidence from a survey matched to administrative data

  • Kristopher Gerardi
  • Lorenz Goette
  • Stephan Meier

The exact cause of the massive defaults and foreclosures in the U.S. subprime mortgage market is still unclear. This paper investigates whether a particular aspect of borrowers' financial literacy—their numerical ability—may have played a role. We measure several aspects of financial literacy and cognitive ability in a survey of subprime mortgage borrowers who took out mortgages in 2006 or 2007 and match these measures to objective data on mortgage characteristics and repayment performance. We find a large and statistically significant negative correlation between numerical ability and various measures of delinquency and default. Foreclosure starts are approximately two-thirds lower in the group with the highest measured level of numerical ability compared with the group with the lowest measured level. The result is robust to controlling for a broad set of sociodemographic variables and not driven by other aspects of cognitive ability or the characteristics of the mortgage contracts. Our results raise the possibility that limitations in certain aspects of financial literacy played an important role in the subprime mortgage crisis.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.frbatlanta.org/documents/pubs/wp/wp1010.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2010-10.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2010-10
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1000 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30309
Phone: 404-521-8500
Web page: http://www.frbatlanta.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2009. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2620, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Christopher Foote & Kristopher Gerardi & Lorenz Goette & Paul Willen, 2009. "Reducing Foreclosures: No Easy Answers," NBER Working Papers 15063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Who is “Behavioral”? Cognitive Ability and Anomalous Preferences," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001334, David K. Levine.
  4. Foote, Christopher L. & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: Theory and evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 234-245, September.
  5. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 511, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2010. "How ordinary consumers make complex economic decisions: Financial literacy and retirement readiness," CFS Working Paper Series 2010/11, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  7. Kristopher Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro & Paul S. Willen, 2007. "Subprime outcomes: risky mortgages, homeownership experiences, and foreclosures," Working Papers 07-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  8. Sumit Agarwal & John C. Driscoll & Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2008. "Learning in the Credit Card Market," NBER Working Papers 13822, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496, November.
  10. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing high house prices: bubbles, fundamentals, and misperceptions," Staff Reports 218, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  11. Roger E. A. Farmer, 2009. "Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why it Matters for Global Capitalism," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 85(270), pages 357-358, 09.
  12. John J. McArdle & James P. Smith & Robert Willis, 2009. "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 15266, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Anthony Pennington-Cross & Giang Ho, 2006. "The termination of subprime hybrid and fixed rate mortgages," Working Papers 2006-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  14. Shane M. Sherlund, 2008. "The past, present, and future of subprime mortgages," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2008-63, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  16. Victor Stango & Jonathan Zinman, 2009. "Exponential Growth Bias and Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2807-2849, December.
  17. James Banks & Zoe Oldfield, 2007. "Understanding Pensions: Cognitive Function, Numerical Ability and Retirement Saving," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 143-170, 06.
  18. Burks, Stephen V. & Carpenter, Jeffrey P. & Götte, Lorenz & Rustichini, Aldo, 2008. "Cognitive Skills Explain Economic Preferences, Strategic Behavior, and Job Attachment," IZA Discussion Papers 3609, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  20. Kristopher Gerardi & Adam Hale Shapiro & Paul S. Willen, 2009. "Decomposing the foreclosure crisis: House price depreciation versus bad underwriting," Working Paper 2009-25, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  21. Meier, Stephan & Sprenger, Charles, 2010. "Stability of Time Preferences," IZA Discussion Papers 4756, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2010-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Meredith Rector)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.