Monetary Policy, Heterogeneity, and the Housing Channel
Fatih Karahan and
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Serdar Ozkan: University of Toronto
Kurt Mitman: Stockholm University
Fatih Karahan: Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Aaron Hedlund: University of Missouri
No 1610, 2017 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics
We investigate the role of housing and mortgage debt in the transmission and effectiveness of monetary policy. First, monetary policy induced-movements in house prices translate into consumption changes because of wealth effects. Second, a contractionary monetary shock raises the cost of borrowing which reduces the demand and as a result the liquidity of the housing market, further depressing house prices and further increases the cost of borrowing. Furthermore, nominal long-term mortgage debt implies that changes in monetary policy result in redistribution between lenders and borrowers and generate cash-flow effects that are larger for borrowing constrained households. We build a heterogenous agent New Keynesian model with a frictional housing market to quantify the various mechanisms. The model is able to match the rich empirical heterogeneity in home ownership, leverage and MPC across households. In particular, our model is consistent with the significant difference in MPC between low- and high-LTV households that we document in the data. Our quantitative findings are as follows: First, we find that about 20% of the drop in aggregate consumption against a contractionary monetary shock is due to declining house prices. Second, we find asymmetric responses of the economy to shocks, with contractionary shocks yielding a larger response of all variables. Finally, we investigate how the transmission of monetary policy depends on the distribution of mortgage debt and find that monetary policy is more effective in stimulating the economy in an high-LTV environment.
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