Research seminars

Regional Redistribution through the U.S. Mortgage Market

Finance

Speaker: Amit Seru
Chicago Booth

2 October 2014


Government-sponsored mortgage enterprises (GSEs) securitize the bulk of all mortgages originated within the United States. We formally explore one of the aspects of the GSE pricing decision by studying the extent to which GSE policies result in the redistribution of resources across U.S. regions in a state contingent manner. Despite large spatial variation in predictable default risk, there is essentially no spatial variation in GSE mortgage rates, conditional on borrower observables. In contrast, the private market does set interest rates based in part on regional risk factors. We explore a number of explanations for the lack of spatial variation of GSE mortgage rates over time and conclude that political pressure is the most reasonable explanation. We then attempt to quantify the economic impact of the GSEs' constant interest rate policy on regional risk sharing by building a structural spatial model of collateralized borrowing where households face both idiosyncratic and region-specific shocks. The model, parameterized and calibrated based on the analysis of GSE and private markets, suggests that the GSE national interest rate policy has significant ex post redistribution consequences across regions: on an ex post basis, it is comparable in size to fiscal stimulus packages such as tax rebates and payroll tax holidays. Although there are a range of consequences to housing and mortgage markets that are often attributed to the presence of GSEs, this paper suggests that their common national interest rate policy may be one important and understudied dimension of their impact on household choices.

Operating Leverage, Risk Taking and Coordination Failures

Finance

Speaker: Matthieu Bouvard
Desautels Faculty of Management

14 June 2018 - S125 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm

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We study an economy with demand spillovers where firms' decisions to produce are strategic complements. Firms have access to an increasing returns to scale technology and choose their operating leverage trading off higher fixed costs for lower variable costs. Operating leverage raises the sensitivity of firms' profits to an aggregate labor productivity shock, thereby magnifying systematic risk. We show that firms take excessive risk as they do not internalize that higher operating leverage increases the likelihood of a coordination failure where output is infficiently depressed across the economy. More generally, our analysis suggests that individual risk-taking decisions aggregate into excessive output volatility in the presence of strategic complementarities among agents.

The Origins and Real Effects of the Gender Gap: Evidence from CEOs’ Formative Years∗

Finance

Speaker: Mikhail Simutin
Rotman School of Management

7 June 2018 - T004 - From 10:00 am to 12:30 pm

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CEOs allocate more investment capital to male than female division managers. Using data from individual Census records, we find that this gender gap is driven by CEOs who grew up in male-dominated families—those where the father was the only income earner and had more education than the mother. The gender gap also increases for CEOs who attended all-male high schools and grew up in neighborhoods with greater gender inequality. The effect of gender on capital budgeting introduces frictions and erodes investment efficiency. Overall, the gender gap originates in CEO preferences developed during formative years and produces significant real effects.

Disclosure, Competition, and Learning from Asset Prices

Finance

Speaker: Liyan Yang
Rotman School of Management

31 May 2018 - T027 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm

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This paper studies the classic information-sharing problem in a duopoly setting in which firms learn information from a financial market. By disclosing information, a firm incurs a proprietary cost of losing competitive advantage to its rival firm but benefits from learning from a more informative asset market. Firms' disclosure decisions can exhibit strategic complementarity, which is strong enough to support both a disclosure equilibrium and a nondisclosure equilibrium. Allowing minimal learning from asset prices dramatically changes firms' disclosure behaviors: without learning from prices, firms do not disclose at all; but with minimal learning from prices, firms can almost fully disclose their information. Learning from asset prices benefits firms, consumers, and liquidity traders, but harms financial speculators.

Alpha Decay*

Finance

Speaker: Anton Lines
Columbia Business School

24 May 2018 - T020 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm

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Using a novel sample of professional asset managers, we document positive incremental alpha on newly purchased stocks that decays over twelve months. While managers are successful forecasters at these short-to-medium horizons, their average holding period is substantially longer (2.2 years). Both slow alpha decay and the horizon mismatch can be explained by strategic trading behavior. Managers accumulate positions gradually and unwind gradually once the alpha has run out; they trade more aggressively when the number of competitors and/or correlation among information signals is high, and do not increase trade size after unexpected capital flows. Alphas are lower when competition/correlation increases.

What is the Expected Return on a Stock?

Finance

Speaker: Ian Martin
LSE

17 May 2018 - From 2:00 pm to 3:15 pm


We derive a formula that expresses the expected return on a stock in terms of the risk-neutral variance of the market and the stock’s excess risk-neutral variance relative to the average stock. These quantities can be computed fromindex and stock option prices; the formula has no free parameters. We run panel regressions of realized stock returns onto risk-neutral variances, and find that the theory performs well at 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year forecasting horizons. The formula drives out beta, size, book-to-market and momentum, and outperforms a range of competitors in forecasting stock returns out of sample. Our results suggest that there is considerably more variation in expected returns, both over time and across stocks, than has previously been acknowledged.


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