Mortgage Modification and Strategic Behavior: A Contrarian Reading of the Countrywide Financial Corporation Settlement
7 Pages Posted: 25 May 2011
Date Written: May 23, 2011
Christopher Mayer, Edward Morrison, Thomas Piskorski and Arpit Gupta of Columbia University have recently published in the Law and Finance eJournal a comprehensive study demonstrating the significant impacts on strategic default rates of the widely publicized Countrywide Financial Corporation settlement of 2008. While their study is a solid and convincing descriptive effort, their implicit assumption that strategic defaults are something to be discouraged rather than encouraged, a position that I have criticized in my earlier work, undercuts the usefulness of their work for policy guidance. From their perspective the Countrywide settlement provides a cautionary tale about difficult trade-offs to be faced in loan modification policy design, whereas I regard it instead as providing some encouragement regarding loan modification initiatives.
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