The Impact of Minority Representation at Mortgage Lenders
We study links between the labor market for loan officers and access to mortgage credit. Using novel data matching the (near) universe of mortgage applications to loan officers, we find that minorities are significantly underrepresented among loan officers. Minority borrowers are less likely to complete mortgage applications, have completed applications approved, and to ultimately take-up a loan. These disparities are significantly reduced when minority borrowers work with minority loan officers. Minority borrowers working with minority loan officers also have lower default rates. Our results ...
School District Expenditures and Race
On average, spending per student is very similar for Black and White students, yet schools with a higher share of Black students spend less per student on instruction.
The Unequal Effect of Interest Rates by Race, Gender
Household spending typically falls as interest rates rise, but the responses vary by race and gender. Data show that households with mortgages headed by white women cut their spending on durable goods about a quarter percentage point in the three years following a 1 percentage point increase in interest rates. This is a much larger reduction than for households with mortgages headed by white men or Black men or women. The differences highlight the challenge of understanding how policy interest rate changes affect a diverse population.
Black and White Differences in the Labor Market Recovery from COVID-19
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the various measures put in place to contain it caused a rapid deterioration in labor market conditions for many workers and plunged the nation into recession. The unemployment rate increased dramatically during the COVID recession, rising from 3.5 percent in February to 14.8 percent in April, accompanied by an almost three percentage point decline in labor force participation. While the subsequent labor market recovery in the aggregate has exceeded even some of the most optimistic scenarios put forth soon after this dramatic rise, the recovery has been ...
A New Look at Racial Disparities Using a More Comprehensive Wealth Measure
Most research measuring disparities in wealth by race relies on data that exclude resources that are disproportionately important to low-wealth and non-white families, namely defined benefit (DB) pensions and Social Security. This paper finds that once these resources are included, disparities in wealth between white families and Black and Hispanic families are substantially smaller and that they are not rising over time. The powerful equalizing roles of DB pensions and Social Security highlighted here are further motivation for maintaining their fiscal health. This paper also presents ...
Racial and Income Gaps in Consumer Spending following COVID-19
This post is the first in a two-part series that seeks to understand whether consumer spending patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic evolved differentially across counties by race and income. As the pandemic hit and social distancing restrictions were put into place in March 2020, consumer spending plummeted. Subsequently, as social distancing restrictions began to be relaxed later in spring 2020, consumer spending started to rebound. We find that higher-income counties had a considerably steeper decline and a shallower recovery than low-income counties did. The differences by race were also ...
Negative equity in the Sixth Federal Reserve District
Using Zillow's zip code level Negative Equity Report for the second quarter of 2014 and 2015, I map, describe, and analyze the characteristics of neighborhoods that have persistent negative equity in the Sixth Federal Reserve District, comprised of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Persistent negative equity, when a house is worth less than outstanding mortgage debt, is high in the Sixth District and concentrated in urban areas. In a series of regressions, I evaluate the correlation of income, commute times, unemployment, housing stock quality, ...
Understanding the Racial and Income Gap in COVID-19: Essential Workers
This is the fourth and final post in this series aimed at understanding the gap in COVID-19 intensity by race and by income. The previous three posts focused on the role of mediating variables—such as uninsurance rates, comorbidities, and health resource in the first post; public transportation, and home crowding in the second; and social distancing, pollution, and age composition in the third—in explaining the racial and income gap in the incidence of COVID-19. In this post, we now investigate the role of employment in essential services in explaining this gap.
Inequality in U.S. Homeownership Rates by Race and Ethnicity
Homeownership has historically been an important means for Americans to accumulate wealth—in fact, at more than $15 trillion, housing equity accounts for 16 percent of total U.S. household wealth. Consequently, the U.S. homeownership cycle has triggered large swings in Americans’ net worth over the past twenty-five years. However, the nature of those swings has varied significantly by race and ethnicity, with different demographic groups tracing distinct trajectories through the housing boom, the foreclosure crisis, and the subsequent recovery. Here, we look into the dynamics underlying ...
Hit Harder, Recover Slower? Unequal Employment Effects of the COVID-19 Shock
The destructive economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was distributed unequally across the population. A worker's gender, race and ethnicity, age, education, industry, and occupation all mattered. We analyze the initial negative effect and its lingering effect through the recovery phase, across demographic and socioeconomic groups. The initial negative impact on employment was larger for women, minorities, the less educated, and the young whether or not we account for the industries and occupations they worked in. By February 2021, however, the differential effects across groups had gotten ...