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Regional Redistribution through the U.S. Mortgage Market

Erik Hurst (), Benjamin Keys, Amit Seru and Joseph Vavra ()

Research Papers from Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

Abstract: Regional shocks are an important feature of the U.S. economy. Households' ability to self-insure against these shocks depends on how they affect local interest rates. In the U.S., most borrowing occurs through the mortgage market and is influenced by the presence of government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs). We establish that despite large regional variation in predictable default risk, GSE mortgage rates for otherwise identical loans do not vary spatially. In contrast, the private market does set interest rates which vary with local risk, and we postulate that the lack of regional variation in GSE mortgage rates is likely driven by political pressure. We use a spatial model of collateralized borrowing to show that the national interest rate policy substantially affects welfare by redistributing resources across regions.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ure
Date: 2015-09
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Journal Article: Regional Redistribution through the US Mortgage Market (2016) Downloads
Working Paper: Regional Redistribution Through the U.S. Mortgage Market (2015) Downloads
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