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The Benefits of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Jessse M. Shapiro

Abstract

The home mortgage interest deduction creates incentives to buy more housing and to become a homeowner, and the case for the deduction rests on social benefits from housing consumption and homeownership. There is little evidence suggesting large externalities from the level of housing consumption, but there appear to be externalities from homeownership. Externalities from living around homeowners are far too small to justify the deduction. Externalities from homeownership are larger, but the home mortgage interest deduction is a particularly poor instrument for encouraging homeownership since it is targeted at the wealthy, who are almost always homeowners. The irrelevance of the deduction is supported by the time series which shows that the ownership subsidy moves with inflation and has changed significantly between 1960 and today, but the homeownership rate has been essentially constant.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Jessse M. Shapiro, 2002. "The Benefits of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1979, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1979
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    File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2002/HIER1979.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonas D. M. Fisher & Martin Gervais, 2011. "Why Has Home Ownership Fallen Among The Young?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(3), pages 883-912, August.
    2. Theodore Panagiotidis & Panagiotis Printzis, 2016. "On the macroeconomic determinants of the housing market in Greece: a VECM approach," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 387-409, July.
    3. Cho, Sang-Wook (Stanley), 2010. "Household wealth accumulation and portfolio choices in Korea," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 13-25, March.
    4. Jordan Rappaport, 2005. "The shared fortunes of cities and suburbs," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 33-60.
    5. Raj Chetty, 2004. "Consumption Commitments, Unemployment Durations, and Local Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 10211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David C. Ling & Gary A. McGill, 2007. "The Variation of Homeowner Tax Preferences by Income, Age and Leverage," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 35(4), pages 505-539, December.
    7. Clément Bellet, 2017. "Essays on Inequality, Social Preferences and Consumer Behavior," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/vbu6kd1s68o, Sciences Po.
    8. Cho, Sang-Wook (Stanley), 2012. "Accounting For Life-Cycle Wealth Accumulation: The Role Of Housing Institution," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 493-517, September.
    9. Clement Bellet, 2017. "The Paradox of the Joneses: Superstar Houses and Mortgage Frenzy in Suburban America," CEP Discussion Papers dp1462, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    10. Gervais, Martin & Fisher, Jonas, 2009. "Why has home ownership fallen among the young?," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0907, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    11. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
    12. Martins, Nuno C. & Villanueva, Ernesto, 2006. "The impact of mortgage interest-rate subsidies on household borrowing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1601-1623, September.
    13. Kurz, Claudia & Hoffmann, Johannes, 2004. "A rental-equivalence index for owner-occupied housing in West Germany 1985 to 1998," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2004,08, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    14. Stephen Cauley & Andrey Pavlov & Eduardo Schwartz, 2007. "Homeownership as a Constraint on Asset Allocation," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 283-311, April.
    15. Jante Parlevliet & Thomas Kooiman, 2015. "Wealth formation of Dutch households: a policy assessment," DNB Occasional Studies 1301, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    16. Kroot, Jan & Giouvris, Evangelos, 2016. "Dutch mortgages: Impact of the crisis on probability of default," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 18(C), pages 205-217.
    17. Casper Ewijk & Bas Jacobs & Ruud Mooij, 2007. "Welfare Effects of Fiscal Subsidies on Home Ownership in the Netherlands," De Economist, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 323-336, September.
    18. Thomas Hemmelgarn & Gaetan Nicodeme & Ernesto Zangari, 2011. "The Role of Housing Tax Provisions in the 2008 Financial Crisis," Taxation Papers 27, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    19. International Monetary Fund, 2011. "Kingdom of Netherlands; Netherlands: Selected Issues and Analytical Notes," IMF Staff Country Reports 11/143, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Annelies Hoebeeck & Koen Inghelbrecht, 2017. "The impact of the mortgage interest and capital deduction scheme on the Belgian mortgage market," Working Paper Research 327, National Bank of Belgium.
    21. Binner, Amy & Day, Brett, 2015. "Exploring mortgage interest deduction reforms: An equilibrium sorting model with endogenous tenure choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 40-54.
    22. Bellet, Clement, 2017. "The paradox of the Joneses: superstar houses andmortgage frenzy in suburban America," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 69044, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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