Mortgage Supply and the US Housing Boom: The Role of the Community Reinvestment Act
IWH Discussion Papers,
This paper studies the role of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in the recent US housing boom-bust cycle. Using a difference-in-differences matching estimation, I find that the enhancement of CRA enforcement in 1998 caused a 7.7 percentage points increase in annual growth rate of mortgage lending by CRA-regulated banks to CRA-eligible census tracts relative to a group of similar-income CRA-ineligible census tracts within the same state. Financial institutions which are not subject to the CRA, however, do not show any change in their mortgage supply between these two types of census tracts after 1998. I take advantage of this exogenous shift in mortgage supply within an instrumental variable framework to identify the causal effect of mortgage supply on housing prices. I find that every 1 percentage point higher annual growth rate of mortgage supply leads to 0.3 percentage points higher annual growth rate of housing prices. Reduced form regressions show that CRA-eligible neighborhoods experienced higher house price growth during the boom and sharper decline during the bust period. I use placebo tests to confirm that this effect is in fact channeled through the shift in mortgage supply by CRA-regulated banks and not by unobserved demand factors. Furthermore, my results indicate that CRA-induced mortgages went to borrowers with lower FICO scores, carried higher interest rates, and encountered more frequent delinquencies.
Macroeconomic Challenges in the Euro Area and the Acceding Countries
The conduct of effective economic policy faces a multiplicity of macroeconomic challenges, which requires a wide scope of theoretical and empirical analyses. With a focus on the European Union, this doctoral dissertation consists of two parts which make empirical and methodological contributions to the literature on forecasting real economic activity and on the analysis of business cycles in a boom-bust framework in the light of the EMU enlargement. In the first part, we tackle the problem of publication lags and analyse the role of the information flow in computing short-term forecasts up to one quarter ahead for the euro area GDP and its main components. A huge dataset of monthly indicators is used to estimate simple bridge equations. The individual forecasts are then pooled, using different weighting schemes. To take into consideration the release calendar of each indicator, six forecasts are compiled successively during the quarter. We find that the sequencing of information determines the weight allocated to each block of indicators, especially when the first month of hard data becomes available. This conclusion extends the findings of the recent literature. Moreover, when combining forecasts, two weighting schemes are found to outperform the equal weighting scheme in almost all cases. In the second part, we focus on the potential accession of the new EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe to the euro area. In contrast to the discussion of Optimum Currency Areas, we follow a non-standard approach for the discussion on abandonment of national currencies the boom-bust theory. We analyse whether evidence for boom-bust cycles is given and draw conclusions whether these countries should join the EMU in the near future. Using a broad range of data sets and empirical methods we document credit market imperfections, comprising asymmetric financing opportunities across sectors, excess foreign currency liabilities and contract enforceability problems both at macro and micro level. Furthermore, we depart from the standard analysis of comovements of business cycles among countries and rather consider long-run and short-run comovements across sectors. While the results differ across countries, we find evidence for credit market imperfections in Central and Eastern Europe and different sectoral reactions to shocks. This gives favour for the assessment of the potential euro accession using this supplementary, non-standard approach.
Boom, bust, and the human body: further evidence on the relationship between height and business cycles.
Economics and Human Biology 3 (3),