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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1297698
 
 

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The Political Economy of the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis


Atif R. Mian


Princeton University - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; NBER

Amir Sufi


University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; NBER

Francesco Trebbi


University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

November 2008

NBER Working Paper No. w14468

Abstract:     
We examine the determinants of congressional voting behavior on two of the most significant pieces of federal legislation in U.S. economic history: the American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. We find evidence that constituent interests and special interests influence voting patterns during the crisis. Representatives from districts experiencing an increase in mortgage default rates are significantly more likely to vote in favor of the AHRFPA. They are precise in responding only to mortgage related constituent defaults, and are significantly more sensitive to defaults of their own-party constituents. Increased campaign contributions from the financial services industry is associated with a higher likelihood of voting in favor of the EESA, a bill which transfers wealth from tax payers to the financial services industry. We also examine the trade-off between politician ideology and constituent and special interests, and find that conservative politicians are less responsive to constituent and special interest pressure. This latter finding suggests that politicians, through ideology, can commit against intervention even during severe crises.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

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Date posted: November 11, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Mian, Atif R. and Sufi, Amir and Trebbi, Francesco, The Political Economy of the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis (November 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14468. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1297698

Contact Information

Atif R. Mian (Contact Author)
Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
NBER
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Amir Sufi
University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )
5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
NBER
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Francesco Trebbi
University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )
997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Canada
HOME PAGE: http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/ftrebbi/
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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