One of the best kept secrets of the 21st Century is how large a role Diversity (in its various manifestations) played in housing bubble and bust of the last decade. So I’ve been slowly collecting studies
by economists of the subject, such as how much worse the default rate was among minorities and immigrants. Last week in “Immigrants Delinquent on Mortgages 3.6 Times as Often as Natives,”
I wrote about a recent study published in Real Estate Economics
entitled “Immigrants and Mortgage Delinquency”
and written by Zhenguo Lin, Yingchun Liu and Jia Xie.
Although Lin, Liu, and Xie toss in some boilerplate at the end about how obviously immigrants aren’t to blame for the bubble and bust, they had clearly read up on this question that fascinates me, citing Michelle Malkin as representative of the “media” and asserting that George W. Bush had “famously” said something at his 2002 White House Conference on Increasing Minority Homeownership,
which is famous mostly to my readers. It was a good study, showing a much greater curiosity about this crucial question than is considered seemly these days.
And it made me wish economists did more studies of the impact of immigration. Instead, we mostly see big name economists just dogmatically endorsing immigration as obviously something that all smart people know is Good.
Why, you may ask? Because immigration is Good. If you were smart, you’d know that.
So why are famous white American economists so publicly stupid on immigration? I’m using the word stupid not to mean “disagree with me,” but to mean “ignorant,” “poorly read in the literature,” “using obvious logical fallacies,” and “incurious.”
It strikes me that one big reason for the shameful behavior of most brand name economists on the analysis of immigration is the demographics of the economics profession at present, with white American economists at the top of the pyramid lording it over a lot of immigrants. The wealthy old white guys seem to assume that their immigrant underlings don’t want the immigration question studied honestly, so they discourage intelligent discussion.
But who knows? Maybe the immigrants would actually like to study immigration? Perhaps in the future when all the old white American professors have been put out to pasture and people with names like Lin, Liu, and Xie completely dominate the American economics profession, discussion of immigration won’t be so intellectually stilted.
To give some sense of the demographics of the economics profession, here is the table of contents of that recent issue of Real Estate Economics
that includes that Lin, Liu, and Xie paper. I’ve put in bold all the economists with names that, judging by the first and last names, don’t sound American: e.g., Leonard Nakamura is assumed to be American and Morten Sorensen to be immigrant. I count 40 immigrant-sounding names and 36 American-sounding names. I didn’t look up the individuals (other than watching a video of Morten Sorensen, who indeed has a Scandinavian accent), so don’t take the precise numbers too seriously, but take the roughly 50-50 split as pretty indicative of the demographics.
Real Estate EconomicsCover image for Vol. 43 Issue 3Edited By: Sumit Agarwal, Brent W. Ambrose & Abdullah YavasInvestor Confidence as a Determinant of China’s Urban Housing Market DynamicsSiqi Zheng, Weizeng Sun and Matthew E. KahnIs the FHA Creating Sustainable Homeownership?Andrew Caplin, Anna Cororaton and Joseph TracyIntroduction to Special Issue: Government Involvement in Residential Mortgage MarketsW. Scott FrameHow Does the Federal Reserve’s Large-Scale Asset Purchases (LSAPs) Influence Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) Yields and U.S. Mortgage Rates?Diana Hancock and Wayne PassmoreA Spatiotemporal Solution for the Simultaneous Sale Price and Time-on-the-Market ProblemJean Dubé and Diègo LegrosMortgage Loan Characteristics, Unobserved Heterogeneity and the Performance of United Kingdom Securitized Subprime LoansGauthier Lanot and David LeeceThe Effect of Mortgage Payment Reduction on Default: Evidence from the Home Affordable Refinance ProgramJun Zhu, Jared Janowiak, Lu Ji, Kadiri Karamon and Douglas McManusThe Cost of Foreclosure DelayLarry Cordell, Liang Geng, Laurie S. Goodman and Lidan YangThe Subprime VirusSumit Agarwal, Brent W. Ambrose and Yildiray YildirimA Tale of Two Tensions: Balancing Access to Credit and Credit Risk in Mortgage UnderwritingMarsha J. Courchane, Leonard C. Kiefer and Peter M. ZornDo Conspicuous Consumers Pay Higher Housing Premiums? Spatial and Temporal Variation in the United StatesKwan Ok Lee and Masaki MoriHow Do Land Auction Formats Influence the Market Structure and Aggregate Surplus of Real Estate Development?Zhi Dong and Tien Foo SingThe Impact of the Home Valuation Code of Conduct on Appraisal and Mortgage OutcomesLei Ding and Leonard NakamuraDid Affordable Housing Legislation Contribute to the Subprime Securities Boom?Andra C. Ghent, Rubén Hernández-Murillo and Michael T. OwyangDo Homeowners Mark to Market? A Comparison of Self-Reported and Estimated Market Home Values During the Housing Boom and BustSewin Chan, Samuel Dastrup and Ingrid Gould EllenIs Timing Everything? Race, Homeownership and Net Worth in the Tumultuous 2000sSandra J. Newman and C. Scott HolupkaThe Borrower’s Perceived Risk in Mortgage ChoiceDongshin Kim and Alan J. Ziobrowski–Nonrecourse Mortgage and Housing Price Boom, Bust, and ReboundTe Bao and Li DingThe Risk and Return of Commercial Real Estate: A Property Level AnalysisLiang PengCorporate Real Estate Ownership and Productivity UncertaintyDaxuan Zhao and Tien Foo SingThe Cap Rate Spread: A New Metric for Commercial UnderwritingPhilip A. Seagraves and Jonathan A. WileyServicers and Mortgage-Backed Securities Default: Theory and EvidenceBrent W. Ambrose, Anthony B. Sanders and Abdullah YavasThe Disciplining Effect of Concern for Referrals: Evidence from Real Estate AgentsLan Shi and Christina TapiaCommercial Real Estate Rental Index: A Dynamic Panel Data Model EstimationXudong An, Yongheng Deng, Jeffrey D. Fisher and Maggie Rong HuDown Payment Saving in the United States: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income DynamicsA. Talha YaltaWages, Housing Prices and CommutesTom MayockHouse Price Expectations: Unbiasedness and Efficiency of ForecastersJing ZhangEstimating Loan-to-Value DistributionsArthur Korteweg and Morten SorensenCommuting with Lost Housing Services as the Opportunity CostJoseph WilliamsHow Subprime Borrowers and Mortgage Brokers Shared the PieAntje Berndt, Burton Hollifield and Patrik SandåsImmigrants and Mortgage DelinquencyZhenguo Lin, Yingchun Liu and Jia XieThe Long and the Short of Household FormationAndrew Paciorek