Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Jenny Minier

Second Advisor

Dr. Ana María Herrera

Abstract

This dissertation studies the impact of several different housing market features on the macroeconomy.

Chapter 1 augments the New-Keynesian model with collateral constraints to incorporate long-term debt in order to examine the interaction between multi-period loans, leverage, and indeterminacy. Allowing firms to borrow heavily against commercial housing by increasing the loan-to-value ratio from 0.01 to 0.90 reduces the level of steady state output approximately 3.19% and decreases social welfare. In contrast, increasing the debt limit of households increases steady state output by 2.72%. Social welfare is maximized under a utilitiarian function when households can borrow at a loan-to-value ratio of about 0.49. An economy with long-term debt also makes stabilization much more difficult for monetary policymakers because determinacy is harder to attain. Instead of only having to satisfy the Taylor Principle (which implies that a more than one-to-one response to inflation), central bankers must either use a strict inflation target or aggressively respond to inflation and the output gap to ensure determinacy.

Chapter 2 examine a New-Keynesian model with housing where default occurs if housing prices are sufficiently low, resulting in a loss of access to credit and housing markets. Default decreases aggregate and patient household consumption, increases impatient household consumption, and amplifies the decline in housing prices due to a misallocation of housing. The effects on consumption often peak immediately before default occurs. Policies that prevent underwater borrowing or raise interest rates along with housing prices are generally desirable because they increase utilitarian social welfare. This paper shows that default is not simply a symptom of economic downturns, but a cause.

Chapter 3 explores the correlation between the home mortgage interest deduction (HMID) and state economic growth. The HMID was introduced to incentivize home purchases by distorting the after-tax price, resulting in an overinvestment in real estate. Previous empirical work has shown that investment in physical capital increases economic growth more so than investment in structures. Theoretically, the anticipated effect of the HMID would be lower subsequent economic growth. However, this paper finds that residential housing is actually beneficial for economic growth.

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