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Did Housing Policies Cause the Post-War Boom in Homeownership? A General Equilibrium Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Don E. Schlagenhauf

    (Florida State University)

  • Carlos Garriga

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Matthew Chambers

    (Towson University)

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to understand the sources of the boom in home ownership between 1940 and 1960. The increase over this period was five times larger than the recent episode 1996-2004. In the post-depression period the government opted to intervene and regulate housing finance, provide assistance programs (i.e. through the Veteran Administration), and change tax provision towards housing. The result was a change in the maturity structure of mortgage loans, downpayment requirements and increase of credit. In addition, the economy underwent important changes in the demographic structure, the income distribution. The relative importance of these different driving forces is analyzed using a quantitative general equilibrium overlapping generation model with housing. The parameterized model is consistent with key aggregate and distributional features in the U.S. in 1940. In contrast to the recent episode, income and demographics are the crucial variables in accounting for the increase in homeownership. Essentially, the level and shape of income over the life-cycle are a precondition for the government reforms in housing markets and housing finance to play an important role in generating an increase in the aggregate home ownership. The increase in life expectancy and the shift in the distribution of age cohort also had a significant effect in the demand for housing.

Suggested Citation

  • Don E. Schlagenhauf & Carlos Garriga & Matthew Chambers, 2011. "Did Housing Policies Cause the Post-War Boom in Homeownership? A General Equilibrium Analysis," 2011 Meeting Papers 1219, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:1219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel K. Fetter, 2013. "How Do Mortgage Subsidies Affect Home Ownership? Evidence from the Mid-century GI Bills," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 111-147, May.
    2. Daniel K. Fetter, 2014. "The Twentieth-Century Increase in U.S. Home Ownership: Facts and Hypotheses," NBER Chapters,in: Housing and Mortgage Markets in Historical Perspective, pages 329-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Davis, Morris A. & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2015. "Housing, Finance, and the Macroeconomy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook

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