Political Transitions & Firm Behavior in Highly Regulated Sectors: The Case of U.S. Mortgage Lending
University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 882
33 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019 Last revised: 17 Mar 2023
Date Written: 2023
This article examines whether elections for state offices that regulate mortgage lenders affect mortgage markets. Some scholars assert that election-related political uncertainty depresses economic activity; others contend that incumbents pursue policies to boost short-term growth prior to elections; and a third group claims that market activity fluctuates around partisan transitions. We test these theories using national data on mortgage characteristics and election data for two important state regulators. We first conduct event studies comparing mortgage market outcomes before and after gubernatorial and attorney-general elections. We then utilize difference-in-difference models to compare states in which partisan control of these key offices switched following an election. Our results do not show consistent support for any of these theories. We find that elections have few significant effects on mortgage markets, suggesting that delegating regulatory power to elected state officials may be efficient.
Keywords: political economy, law and economics, mortgage, household finance, political uncertainty, political business cycle, federalism, state law, mortgage lending, consumer protection, consumer law, empirical legal studies, mortgage finance, attorney general, financial regulation
JEL Classification: D14, D18, D72, G21, K22, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation