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Mortgage Modification and Strategic Behavior: Evidence from a Legal Settlement with Countrywide

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Listed:
  • Christopher J. Mayer
  • Edward Morrison
  • Tomasz Piskorski
  • Arpit Gupta

Abstract

We investigate whether homeowners respond strategically to news of mortgage modification programs. We exploit plausibly exogenous variation in modification policy induced by U.S. state government lawsuits against Countrywide Financial Corporation, which agreed to offer modifications to seriously delinquent borrowers with subprime mortgages throughout the country. Using a difference-in-difference framework, we find that Countrywide's relative delinquency rate increased thirteen percent per month immediately after the program's announcement. The borrowers whose estimated default rates increased the most in response to the program were those who appear to have been the least likely to default otherwise, including those with substantial liquidity available through credit cards and relatively low combined loan-to-value ratios. These results suggest that strategic behavior should be an important consideration in designing mortgage modification programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Mayer & Edward Morrison & Tomasz Piskorski & Arpit Gupta, 2011. "Mortgage Modification and Strategic Behavior: Evidence from a Legal Settlement with Countrywide," NBER Working Papers 17065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17065
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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