Moving to Opportunity? The Geography of the Foreclosure Crisis and the Importance of Location
68 Pages Posted: 2 May 2018 Last revised: 3 Dec 2019
Date Written: December 1, 2019
Over six million households experienced foreclosure during the financial crisis. Where did they move, how did they fare, and why? First, we create a new longitudinal dataset between 2006 and 2011 from households' date of foreclosure to their relocation. Despite significant heterogeneity in mobility outcomes, we find that individuals move to, on average, higher quality locations. However, these locations are sometimes worse than what a household would have chosen at random, on average, within the same state. Second, to investigate the source behind these plausibly suboptimal moves, we quantify the contributions of three different hypotheses: (i) local labor market conditions, (ii) local composition effects, and (iii) state foreclosure institutions towards mobility outcomes. Third, we find that the return to moving to another county following foreclosure, relative to census tracts within-county, is 2.3%. These results suggest that, while individuals who moved are better off for it, labor market frictions play an important role in moderating reallocation over the business cycle.
Keywords: foreclosure, financial crisis, mobility, unemployment
JEL Classification: J61, J24, R31, R51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation