Forthcoming Articles

Mortgage Design in an Equilibrium Model of the Housing Market

Published: 8/4/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12963

ADAM M. GUREN, ARVIND KRISHNAMURTHY, TIMOTHY J. MCQUADE

How can mortgages be redesigned to reduce macrovolatility and default? We address this question using a quantitative equilibrium life‐cycle model. Designs with countercyclical payments outperform fixed payments. Among those, designs that front‐load payment reductions in recessions outperform those that spread relief over the full term. Front‐loading alleviates liquidity constraints when they bind most, reducing default and stimulating housing demand. To illustrate, a fixed‐rate mortgage (FRM) with an option to convert to adjustable‐rate mortgage, which front‐loads payment reductions relative to an FRM with an option to refinance underwater, reduces price and consumption declines six times as much and default three times as much.


Model‐Free International Stochastic Discount Factors

Published: 7/31/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12970

MIRELA SANDULESCU, FABIO TROJANI, ANDREA VEDOLIN

We provide a theoretical framework to uncover in a model‐free way the relationships among international stochastic discount factors (SDFs), stochastic wedges, and financial market structures. Exchange rates are in general different from the ratio of international SDFs in incomplete markets, as captured by a stochastic wedge. We show theoretically that this wedge can be zero in incomplete and integrated markets. Market segmentation breaks the strong link between exchange rates and international SDFs, which helps address salient features of international asset returns while keeping the volatility and cross‐country correlation of SDFs at moderate levels.


Credit Rating Inflation and Firms' Investments

Published: 7/29/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12961

ITAY GOLDSTEIN, CHONG HUANG

We analyze credit rating effects on firm investments in a rational bond financing game that features a feedback loop. The credit rating agency (CRA) inflates the rating, providing a biased but informative signal to creditors. Creditors' response to the rating affects the firm's investment decision and thus its credit quality, which is reflected in the rating. The CRA might reduce ex ante economic efficiency, which results solely from its strategic effect: the CRA assigns more firms high ratings and allows them to gamble for resurrection. We derive empirical predictions on the determinants of rating standards and inflation and discuss policy implications.


The Impact of Supervision on Bank Performance

Published: 7/29/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12964

BEVERLY HIRTLE, ANNA KOVNER, MATTHEW PLOSSER

We explore the impact of supervision on the riskiness, profitability, and growth of U.S. banks. Using data on supervisors' time use, we demonstrate that the top‐ranked banks by size within a supervisory district receive more attention from supervisors, even after controlling for size, complexity, risk, and other characteristics. Using a matched sample approach, we find that these top‐ranked banks that receive more supervisory attention hold less risky loan portfolios, are less volatile, and are less sensitive to industry downturns, but do not have lower growth or profitability. Our results underscore the distinct role of supervision in mitigating banking sector risk.


Measuring Mutual Fund Flow Pressure as Shock to Stock Returns

Published: 7/28/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12962

MALCOLM WARDLAW

A large and rapidly growing literature examines the impact of misvaluation on firm policies by using mutual fund outflow‐induced price pressure to isolate nonfundamental price variation. I demonstrate that the standard approach to computing outflow‐induced price pressure produces a measure that is inadvertently a direct function of a stock's actual realized return during the outflow quarter, raising doubts about its orthogonality to fundamentals. After removing these direct measurements of return, outflows generate a fairly negligible quarterly decline in returns, with no subsequent reversal, and many established results in this literature no longer hold. I provide suggestions for future analysis.


Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining: Fast Trading, Microwave Connectivity, and Trading Costs

Published: 7/27/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12969

ANDRIY SHKILKO, KONSTANTIN SOKOLOV

Modern markets are characterized by speed differentials, with some traders being fractions of a second faster than others. Theoretical models suggest that such differentials may have both positive and negative effects on liquidity and gains from trade. We examine these effects by studying a series of exogenous weather episodes that temporarily remove the speed advantages of the fastest traders by disrupting their microwave networks. The disruptions are associated with lower adverse selection and lower trading costs. In additional analysis, we show that the long‐term removal of speed differentials results in similar effects and also increases gains from trade.


Monetary Policy and Global Banking

Published: 7/27/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12959

FALK BRÄUNING, VICTORIA IVASHINA

When central banks adjust interest rates, the opportunity cost of lending in local currency changes, but—absent frictions—there is no spillover effect to lending in other currencies. However, when equity capital is limited, global banks must benchmark domestic and foreign lending opportunities. We show that, in equilibrium, the marginal return on foreign lending is affected by the interest rate differential, with lower domestic rates leading to an increase in local lending, at the expense of a reduction in foreign lending. We test our prediction in the context of changes in interest rates in six major currency areas.


Stock Market Returns and Consumption

Published: 7/27/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12968

MARCO DI MAGGIO, AMIR KERMANI, KAVEH MAJLESI

This paper employs Swedish data on households' stock holdings to investigate how consumption responds to changes in stock market returns. We instrument the actual capital gains and dividend payments with past portfolio weights. Unrealized capital gains lead to a marginal propensity to consume (MPC) of 23% for the bottom 50% of the wealth distribution and about 3% for the top 30% of the wealth distribution. Household consumption is significantly more responsive to dividend payouts across all parts of the wealth distribution. Our findings are consistent with households treating capital gains and dividends as separate sources of income.


Learning From Disagreement in the U.S. Treasury Bond Market

Published: 7/27/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12971

MARCO GIACOLETTI, KRISTOFFER T. LAURSEN, KENNETH J. SINGLETON

We study risk premiums in the U.S. Treasury bond market from the perspective of a Bayesian econometrician ℬℒ who learns in real time from disagreement among investors about future bond yields. Notably, disagreement has substantial predictive power for yields, and ℬℒ's risk premiums are less volatile than those in the analogous model without learning. ℬℒ's forecasts are substantially more accurate than the consensus forecasts of market professionals, particularly following U.S. recessions. The predictive power of disagreement is distinct from the (much weaker) one of inflation and output growth. Rather, it appears to reflect uncertainty about future fiscal policy.


Safety Transformation and the Structure of the Financial System

Published: 7/27/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12967

WILLIAM DIAMOND

This paper studies how a financial system that is organized to efficiently create safe assets responds to macroeconomic shocks. Financial intermediaries face a cost of bearing risk, so they choose the least risky portfolio that backs their issuance of riskless deposits: a diversified pool of nonfinancial firms' debt. Nonfinancial firms choose their capital structure to exploit the resulting segmentation between debt and equity markets. Increased safe asset demand yields larger and riskier intermediaries and more levered firms. Quantitative easing reduces the size and riskiness of intermediaries and can decrease firm leverage, despite reducing borrowing costs at the zero lower bound.


Sovereign Debt Portfolios, Bond Risks, and the Credibility of Monetary Policy

Published: 7/26/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12965

WENXIN DU, CAROLIN E. PFLUEGER, JESSE SCHREGER

We document that governments whose local currency debt provides them with greater hedging benefits actually borrow more in foreign currency. We introduce two features into a government's debt portfolio choice problem to explain this finding: risk‐averse lenders and lack of monetary policy commitment. A government without commitment chooses excessively countercyclical inflation ex post, which leads risk‐averse lenders to require a risk premium ex ante. This makes local currency debt too expensive from the government's perspective and thereby discourages the government from borrowing in its own currency.


Local Crowding‐Out in China

Published: 7/26/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12966

YI HUANG, MARCO PAGANO, UGO PANIZZA

In China, between 2006 and 2013, local public debt crowded out the investment of private firms by tightening their funding constraints while leaving state‐owned firms' investment unaffected. We establish this result using a purpose‐built data set for Chinese local public debt. Private firms invest less in cities with more public debt, with the reduction in investment larger for firms located farther from banks in other cities or more dependent on external funding. Moreover, in cities where public debt is high, private firms' investment is more sensitive to internal cash flow.


Inalienable Customer Capital, Corporate Liquidity, and Stock Returns

Published: 7/24/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12960

WINSTON WEI DOU, YAN JI, DAVID REIBSTEIN, WEI WU

We develop a model in which customer capital depends on key talents' contribution and pure brand recognition. Customer capital guarantees stable demand but is fragile to financial constraints risk if retained mainly by talents, who tend to quit financially constrained firms, damaging customer capital. Using a proprietary, granular brand‐perception survey, we construct a firm‐level measure of the inalienability of customer capital (ICC) that captures the degree to which customer capital depends on talents. Firms with higher ICC have higher average returns, higher talent turnover, and more precautionary financial policies. The ICC‐sorted long‐short portfolio's spread comoves with financial constraints factor.


The Forced Safety Effect: How Higher Capital Requirements Can Increase Bank Lending

Published: 7/10/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12958

SALEEM BAHAJ, FREDERIC MALHERBE

Government guarantees generate an implicit subsidy for banks. A capital requirement reduces this subsidy, through a simple liability composition effect. However, the guarantees also make a bank undervalue loans that generates surplus in states of the world in which it defaults. Raising the capital requirement makes the bank safer, which alleviates this problem. We refer to this mechanism, which we argue is empirically relevant, as the forced safety effect.


Bad Credit, No Problem? Credit and Labor Market Consequences of Bad Credit Reports

Published: 6/25/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12954

WILL DOBBIE, PAUL GOLDSMITH‐PINKHAM, NEALE MAHONEY, JAE SONG

We study the financial and labor market impacts of bad credit reports. Using difference‐in‐differences variation from the staggered removal of bankruptcy flags, we show that bankruptcy flag removal leads to economically large increases in credit limits and borrowing. Using administrative tax records linked to personal bankruptcy records, we estimate economically small effects of flag removal on employment and earnings outcomes. We rationalize these contrasting results by showing that, conditional on basic observables, “hidden” bankruptcy flags are strongly correlated with adverse credit market outcomes but have no predictive power for measures of job performance.


Market Structure and Transaction Costs of Index CDSs

Published: 6/17/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12953

PIERRE COLLIN‐DUFRESNE, BENJAMIN JUNGE, ANDERS B. TROLLE


False (and Missed) Discoveries in Financial Economics

Published: 6/16/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12951

CAMPBELL R. HARVEY, YAN LIU

Multiple testing plagues many important questions in finance such as fund and factor selection. We propose a new way to calibrate both Type I and Type II errors. Next, using a double‐bootstrap method, we establish a t‐statistic hurdle that is associated with a specific false discovery rate (e.g., 5%). We also establish a hurdle that is associated with a certain acceptable ratio of misses to false discoveries (Type II error scaled by Type I error), which effectively allows for differential costs of the two types of mistakes. Evaluating current methods, we find that they lack power to detect outperforming managers.


The Banking View of Bond Risk Premia

Published: 6/16/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12949

VALENTIN HADDAD, DAVID SRAER

Banks' balance sheet exposure to fluctuations in interest rates strongly forecasts excess Treasury bond returns. This result is consistent with optimal risk management, a banking counterpart to the household Euler equation. In equilibrium, the bond risk premium compensates banks for bearing fluctuations in interest rates. When banks' exposure to interest rate risk increases, the price of this risk simultaneously rises. We present a collection of empirical observations that support this view, but also discuss several challenges to this interpretation.


No Job, No Money, No Refi: Frictions to Refinancing in a Recession

Published: 6/13/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12952

ANTHONY A. DEFUSCO, JOHN MONDRAGON

We study how employment documentation requirements and out‐of‐pocket closing costs constrain mortgage refinancing. These frictions, which bind most severely during recessions, may significantly inhibit monetary policy pass‐through. To study their effects on refinancing, we exploit a Federal Housing Administration policy change that excluded unemployed borrowers from refinancing and increased others' out‐of‐pocket costs substantially. These changes dramatically reduced refinancing rates, particularly among the likely unemployed and those facing new out‐of‐pocket costs. Our results imply that unemployed and liquidity‐constrained borrowers have a high latent demand for refinancing. Cyclical variation in these factors may therefore affect both the aggregate and distributional consequences of monetary policy.


Low‐Risk Anomalies?

Published: 6/13/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12910

PAUL SCHNEIDER, CHRISTIAN WAGNER, JOSEF ZECHNER

This paper shows that low‐risk anomalies in the capital asset pricing model and in traditional factor models arise when investors require compensation for coskewness risk. Empirically, we find that option‐implied ex ante skewness is strongly related to ex post residual coskewness, which allows us to construct coskewness factor‐mimicking portfolios. Controlling for skewness renders the alphas of betting‐against‐beta and betting‐against‐volatility insignificant. We also show that the returns of beta‐ and volatility‐sorted portfolios are driven largely by a single principal component, which in turn is explained largely by skewness.


A Macrofinance View of U.S. Sovereign CDS Premiums

Published: 6/9/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12948

MIKHAIL CHERNOV, LUKAS SCHMID, ANDRES SCHNEIDER

Premiums on U.S. sovereign credit default swaps (CDS) have risen to persistently elevated levels since the financial crisis. We examine whether these premiums reflect the probability of a fiscal default—a state in which a balanced budget can no longer be restored by raising taxes or eroding the real value of debt by increasing inflation. We develop an equilibrium macrofinance model in which the fiscal and monetary policy stances jointly endogenously determine nominal debt, taxes, inflation, and growth. We show that the CDS premiums reflect the endogenous risk‐adjusted probabilities of fiscal default. The calibrated model is consistent with elevated levels of CDS premiums but leaves dynamic implications quantitatively unresolved.


The Mismatch Between Mutual Fund Scale and Skill

Published: 6/4/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12950

YANG SONG

I demonstrate that skill and scale are mismatched among actively managed equity mutual funds. Many mutual fund investors confuse the effects of fund exposures to common systematic factors with managerial skill when allocating capital among funds. Active mutual funds with positive factor‐related past returns thus accumulate assets to the point that they significantly underperform. I also show that the negative aggregate benchmark‐adjusted performance of active equity mutual funds is driven mainly by these oversized funds.


The Employment Effects of Faster Payment: Evidence from the Federal Quickpay Reform

Published: 6/2/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12955

JEAN‐NOEL BARROT, RAMANA NANDA

We study the impact of Quickpay, a reform that permanently accelerated payments to small business contractors of the U.S. government. We find a strong direct effect of the reform on employment growth at the firm level. However, we document substantial crowding out of non‐treated firms' employment within local labor markets. While the overall net employment effect is positive, it is close to zero in tight labor markets. Our results highlight an important channel for alleviating financing constraints in small firms, but emphasize the general‐equilibrium effects of large‐scale interventions, which can lead to lower aggregate outcomes depending on labor market conditions.


The Causal Effect of Limits to Arbitrage on Asset Pricing Anomalies

Published: 5/29/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12947

YONGQIANG CHU, DAVID HIRSHLEIFER, LIANG MA

We examine the causal effect of limits to arbitrage on 11 well‐known asset pricing anomalies using the pilot program of Regulation SHO, which relaxed short‐sale constraints for a quasi‐random set of pilot stocks, as a natural experiment. We find that the anomalies became weaker on portfolios constructed with pilot stocks during the pilot period. The pilot program reduced the combined anomaly long–short portfolio returns by 72 basis points per month, a difference that survives risk adjustment with standard factor models. The effect comes only from the short legs of the anomaly portfolios.


Declining Labor and Capital Shares

Published: 5/26/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12909

SIMCHA BARKAI

This paper presents direct measures of capital costs, equal to the product of the required rate of return on capital and the value of the capital stock. The capital share, equal to the ratio of capital costs and gross value added, does not offset the decline in the labor share. Instead, a large increase in the share of pure profits offsets declines in the shares of both labor and capital. Industry data show that increases in concentration are associated with declines in the labor share.


Price and Probability: Decomposing the Takeover Effects of Anti‐Takeover Provisions

Published: 5/12/2020  |  DOI: 10.1111/jofi.12908

VICENTE CUÑAT, MIREIA GINÉ, MARIA GUADALUPE

We study the effects of anti‐takeover provisions (ATPs) on the takeover probability, the takeover premium, and target selection. Voting to remove an ATP increases both the takeover probability and the takeover premium, that is, there is no evidence of a trade‐off between premiums and takeover probabilities. We provide causal estimates based on shareholder proposals to remove ATPs and address the endogenous selection of targets through bounding techniques. The positive premium effect in less protected firms is driven by better bidder‐target matching and merger synergies.