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Failure to Launch: Housing, Debt Overhang, and the Inflation Option During the Great Recession

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Abstract

Can inflating away nominal mortgage liabilities cure debt overhang and combat a severe housing bust? With a focus on the Great Recession, I address this question using a structural macroeconomic model of illiquid housing, endogenous credit supply, and equilibrium default. First, I show that the model successfully replicates and provides insight into the dynamics of the U.S. economy since 2006. Second, I show that temporarily raising the inflation target would have cut foreclosures by over 60% and led to a more robust recovery in real economic variables. Price-level targeting that promises to offset this temporary inflation with future disinflation has more modest positive effects. In short, forward guidance matters. Higher inflation loses its potency in the counterfactual where all homeowners have adjustable rate mortgages, which highlights the importance of nominal rigidities for the e?ectiveness of these policies. Lastly, inflation proves effective even if wages exhibit substantial nominal stickiness.

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  • Aaron Hedlund, 2015. "Failure to Launch: Housing, Debt Overhang, and the Inflation Option During the Great Recession," Working Papers 1515, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1515
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    File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2015/wp1515_hedlund.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Garriga & Finn E. Kydland & Roman Šustek, 2016. "Nominal Rigidities in Debt and Product Markets," NBER Working Papers 22613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Serdar Ozkan & Kurt Mitman & Fatih Karahan & Aaron Hedlund, 2016. "Monetary Policy, Heterogeneity and the Housing Channel," 2016 Meeting Papers 663, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Garriga, Carlos & Kydland, Finn E. & Šustek, Roman, 2016. "Nominal rigidities in debt and product markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86223, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing; Liquidity; Mortgage Debt; Foreclosure; Inflation;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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