Research

My broad research interests are in applied macroeconomics, monetary and fiscal policy, and public economics. My current area of research is focused on federal credit policy interventions in U.S. mortgage markets.


Job Market Paper

Crowd-out Effects of U.S. Housing Credit Policy. Latest slides.

Credit policies can expand targeted lending volumes by subsidizing or absorbing private credit risks, which may reduce other lending. I document that U.S. housing credit policies that subsidize an expansion in residential mortgage lending additionally crowd out commercial lending. A long history of regulatory changes is used to identify exogenous variation in the mortgage purchases of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The transmission of mortgage purchases by government-sponsored enterprises appears to operate in part through a mortgage origination channel and safe asset supply channel, inducing significant reallocations in bank lending. U.S. housing credit policies appear to predominantly redistribute credit and construction spending across sectors without affecting aggregate construction or employment. I explore implications for unwinding the Federal Reserve’s holdings of mortgage debt and eventual reforms to Fannie and Freddie.

Publications

The Macroeconomic Effects of Government Asset Purchases: Evidence from Postwar U.S. Housing Credit Policy, joint with Karel Mertens and Morten O. RavnQuarterly 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

Government-sponsored Secondary Mortgage Markets: Automatic Stabilizer for Housing?

Government-sponsored enterprises play a countercyclical role in U.S. mortgage markets, increasing mortgage purchases, expanding securitization volumes, and gaining market share during credit crunches. I estimate dynamic responses of the secondary market activity of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, mortgage and commercial lending, and housing market activity to monetary and financial shocks. Structural vector autoregressions (SVARs) are identified from the Gilchrist and Zakrajšek (2012) excess bond premium, the Gertler and Karadi (2015) measure of monetary shocks, and the Bloom (2009) measure of uncertainty shocks. Contractionary financial shocks induce an endogenous expansion of the mortgage purchases of Fannie and Freddie and the volume of agency-guaranteed mortgage securities. All three shocks are contractionary with respect to industrial production, consumption, and unemployment, but mortgage originations and home mortgage lending are insulated from financial shocks. I explore the historical contribution of secondary market activity in stabilizing mortgage lending across the credit cycle, as well as policy implications for reforms to Fannie and Freddie.


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.


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ResearchGate