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Securitization and moral hazard: evidence from a lender cutoff rule


  • Ryan Bubb
  • Alex Kaufman


Credit score cutoff rules result in very similar potential borrowers being treated differently by mortgage lenders. Recent research has used variation induced by these rules to investigate the connection between securitization and lender moral hazard in the recent financial crisis. However, the conclusions of such research depend crucially on understanding the origin of these cutoff rules. We offer an equilibrium model in which cutoff rules are a rational response of lenders to per-applicant fixed costs in screening. We then demonstrate that our theory fits the data better than the main alternative theory already in the literature, which supposes cutoff rules are exogenously used by securitizers. Furthermore, we use our theory to interpret the cutoff rule evidence and conclude that mortgage securitizers were in fact aware of and attempted to mitigate the moral hazard problem posed by securitization.

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan Bubb & Alex Kaufman, 2009. "Securitization and moral hazard: evidence from a lender cutoff rule," Public Policy Discussion Paper 09-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpp:09-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2008. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the 2007 Mortgage Default Crisis," NBER Working Papers 13936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
    3. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
    4. 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.
    5. Pennacchi, George G, 1988. " Loan Sales and the Cost of Bank Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 43(2), pages 375-396, June.
    6. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
    7. Gorton, Gary B. & Pennacchi, George G., 1995. "Banks and loan sales Marketing nonmarketable assets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 389-411, June.
    8. Robert B. Avery & Raphael W. Bostic & Paul S. Calem & Glenn B. Canner, 1996. "Credit risk, credit scoring, and the performance of home mortgages," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 621-648.
    9. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anthony Yezer & Pingkang Yu, 2016. "Costly Screening, Self-Selection, Fraud, and the Organization of Credit Markets," Working Papers 2016-4, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    2. Adelino, Manuel & Gerardi, Kristopher & Willen, Paul S., 2013. "Why don't Lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? Redefaults, self-cures and securitization," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 835-853.
    3. Jin, Yu, 2012. "Essays on financial institutions and instability," ISU General Staff Papers 201201010800003361, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Vogl, Tom S., 2014. "Race and the politics of close elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 101-113.
    5. Capozza, Dennis R. & Order, Robert Van, 2011. "The great surge in mortgage defaults 2006-2009: The comparative roles of economic conditions, underwriting and moral hazard," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 141-151, June.

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    Mortgage-backed securities ; Mortgage loans ; Credit scoring systems;

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