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Behind the Great Recession: Job Search and Housing Decisions

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  • Silvio Rendon

    () (Department of Economics, Stony Brook University)

  • Nuria Quella

    ()

Abstract

In this paper we analyze a mechanism that is particularly relevant to the workings of the Great Recession: we explain how easier home financing and higher homeownership rates increase unemployment rates. To this purpose we build a model of job search with liquid wealth accumulation and consumption of housing that can be rented, bought on credit, or sold. In our model, more relaxed house credit conditions increase workers' reservation wages, making them more selective in their job search. More selective job searches deteriorate employment transitions: job finding and job-to-job transitions rates decline while job loss rates increase, causing the overall unemployment rate to rise. We estimate this model structurally using NLSY data from 1978 until 2005. We find that more relaxed housing lending conditions, particularly lower downpayment requirements, increase unemployment rates by 6 percent points. We also find that declining labor demand decreases homeownership rates by 14 percent points.
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Suggested Citation

  • Silvio Rendon & Nuria Quella, 2013. "Behind the Great Recession: Job Search and Housing Decisions," Department of Economics Working Papers 13-03, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:13-03
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    File URL: http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/economics/research/papers/2013/JSHousing.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Rendon Sílvio, 2006. "Job Search And Asset Accumulation Under Borrowing Constraints ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 233-263, February.
    2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2013. "Does High Home-Ownership Impair the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 19079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Hagedorn, Marcus & Karahan, Fatih & Manovskii, Iourii & Mitman, Kurt, 2013. "Unemployment benefits and unemployment in the Great Recession: the role of macro effects," Staff Reports 646, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revised 01 Feb 2015.
    4. 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.
    5. Gervais, Martin, 2002. "Housing taxation and capital accumulation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1461-1489, October.
    6. Jeremy Lise, 2013. "On-the-Job Search and Precautionary Savings," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 1086-1113.
    7. James Costain, 1997. "Unemployment insurance with endogenous search intensity and precautionary saving," Economics Working Papers 243, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    8. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    9. Iacoviello, Matteo & Pavan, Marina, 2013. "Housing and debt over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 221-238.
    10. Matthew Chambers & Carlos Garriga & Don E. Schlagenhauf, 2009. "Accounting For Changes In The Homeownership Rate," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(3), pages 677-726, August.
    11. Fang Yang, 2009. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: How Different is Housing?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 423-443, July.
    12. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "House Prices, Home Equity-Based Borrowing, and the US Household Leverage Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2132-2156, August.
    13. Paul Flatau & Matt Forbes & Patric H. Hendershott, 2003. "Homeownership and Unemployment: The Roles of Leverage and Public Housing," NBER Working Papers 10021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Sommer, Kamila & Sullivan, Paul & Verbrugge, Randal, 2013. "The equilibrium effect of fundamentals on house prices and rents," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 854-870.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job Search; Housing; Savings; Structural Estimation.;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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