Research

My broad research interests are in applied macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy. My current area of research is focused on U.S. housing credit policy and government interventions in mortgage markets.


Job Market Paper

The Bank Lending Channel of U.S. Housing Credit Policy. Latest slides.

I contribute evidence on credit crowd-out and spillover effects for non-residential lending resulting from the transmission of U.S. housing credit policy. Identification comes from policy interventions classified as unrelated to the business cycle, documented by a narrative analysis of regulatory changes affecting the mortgage holdings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. GSE purchase shocks induce an expansion in home mortgage lending, which is primarily funded by portfolio substitution effects among primary market lenders. Incentivizing lenders to originate new conforming mortgages leads to a reduction of private multifamily and commercial mortgage lending as well as C&I loans. Secondary market purchase shocks spur similarly divergent responses for construction activity. U.S. housing credit policy appears to largely reallocate credit and real activity across sectors without affecting aggregate activity.

Publications

The Macroeconomic Effects of Government Asset Purchases: Evidence from Postwar U.S. Housing Credit Policy, joint with Karel Mertens and Morten O. Ravn, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 133 (3): 1503-1560. Online appendices.

Previously available as NBER Working Paper No. 23154. ASSA 2018 slidesVoxEU column.

We document the portfolio activity of federal housing agencies and provide evidence on its impact on mortgage markets and the economy. Through a narrative analysis, we identify historical policy changes leading to expansions or contractions in agency mortgage holdings. Based on those regulatory events that we classify as unrelated to short-run cyclical or credit market shocks, we find that an increase in mortgage purchases by the agencies boosts mortgage lending, in particular refinancing, and lowers mortgage rates. Agency purchases also influence prices in other asset markets, stimulate residential investment, and expand homeownership. We compare these effects to those of conventional monetary policy shocks, and we provide evidence on the interactions between housing credit and monetary policies.

Working Papers

A Narrative Analysis of Mortgage Asset Purchases by Federal Agencies, joint with Karel Mertens, NBER Working Paper No. 23165 (updated July 2017). Online appendix.

This paper provides a narrative analysis of regulatory policy changes affecting the purchases and holdings of mortgages and related securities of five US government entities over the 1968–2014 period. We focus on federal government policies that aim to influence the allocation and/or volume of the supply of residential mortgage credit. We use contemporary primary sources and various institutional histories to identify significant policy interventions, to document their economic and regulatory context, surrounding motives, and pertinent timing, as well as to quantify projected impacts on agencies’ mortgage holdings. Finally, we classify each significant policy change as either “cyclically motivated” or “unrelated to the business and/or financial cycle.”

Work in Progress

U.S. Housing Credit Policy as an Automatic Stabilizer: Credit and Construction Responses to Macrofinance Shocks


 Research Grants and Awards

Dissertation Fellowship, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Summer 2018.

Graduate School Conference Travel Grant, Cornell University, Spring 2018.

Graduate School Research Travel Grant, Cornell University, Fall 2017.

L.R. “Red” Wilson MA ‘67 Excellence in Economics Medal and Research Prize, Fall 2015.