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

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17065.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17065.

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Date of creation: May 2011
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Publication status: published as Mayer, Christopher, Edward Morrison, Tomasz Piskorski, and Arpit Gupta. 2014. “Mortgage Modification and Strategic Default: Evidence from a Legal Settlement with Countrywide,” January. (Forthcoming, The American Economic Review)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17065
Note: CF PE
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  1. Ronel Elul & Nicholas S. Souleles & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Dennis Glennon & Robert Hunt, 2010. "What "Triggers" Mortgage Default?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 490-94, May.
  2. 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.
  3. Puhani, Patrick A., 2012. "The treatment effect, the cross difference, and the interaction term in nonlinear “difference-in-differences” models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 85-87.
  4. Sumit Agarwal & Gene Amromin & Itzhak Ben-David & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Douglas D. Evanoff, 2011. "The role of securitization in mortgage renegotiation," Working Paper Series WP-2011-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. Berndt, Antje & Gupta, Anurag, 2009. "Moral hazard and adverse selection in the originate-to-distribute model of bank credit," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 725-743, July.
  6. repec:oup:rfinst:v:25:y::i:7:p:2071-2108 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Giglio, Stefano & Pathak, Parag & Campbell, John Y., 2011. "Forced Sales and House Prices," Scholarly Articles 9887623, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  9. Benjamin J. Keys & Tanmoy Mukherjee & Amit Seru & Vikrant Vig, 2010. "Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening? Evidence from Subprime Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 307-362, February.
  10. Christopher L. Foote & Kristopher Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2008. "Negative equity and foreclosure: theory and evidence," Public Policy Discussion Paper 08-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  11. Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit & Vig, Vikrant, 2010. "Securitization and distressed loan renegotiation: Evidence from the subprime mortgage crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 369-397, September.
  12. Tomasz Piskorski & Alexei Tchistyi, 2011. "Stochastic House Appreciation and Optimal Mortgage Lending," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(5), pages 1407-1446.
  13. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Jonathan Morse, 2009. "Your house or your credit card, which would you choose?: personal delinquency tradeoffs and precautionary liquidity motives," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU09-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
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