NBER Working Papers by Joao Cocco

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Working Papers

October 2011A Model of Mortgage Default
with John Y. Campbell: w17516
This paper solves a dynamic model of a household's decision to default on its mortgage, taking into account labor income, house price, inflation, and interest rate risk. Mortgage default is triggered by negative home equity, which results from declining house prices in a low inflation environment with large mortgage balances outstanding. Not all households with negative home equity default, however. The level of negative home equity that triggers default depends on the extent to which households are borrowing constrained. High loan-to-value ratios at mortgage origination increase the probability of negative home equity. High loan-to-income ratios also increase the probability of default by tightening borrowing constraints. Comparing mortgage types, adjustable-rate mortgage defaults occur ...
August 2005How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence From Micro Data
with John Y. Campbell: w11534
Housing is a major component of wealth. Since house prices fluctuate considerably over time, it is important to understand how these fluctuations affect households' consumption decisions. Rising house prices may stimulate consumption by increasing households' perceived wealth, or by relaxing borrowing constraints. This paper investigates the response of household consumption to house prices using UK micro data. We estimate the largest effect of house prices on consumption for older homeowners, and the smallest effect, insignificantly different from zero, for younger renters. This finding is consistent with heterogeneity in the wealth effect across these groups. In addition, we find that regional house prices affect regional consumption growth. Predictable changes in house prices are correl...

Published: Campbell, John Y. & Cocco, Joao F., 2007. "How do house prices affect consumption? Evidence from micro data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 591-621, April. citation courtesy of

June 2003Household Risk Management and Optimal Mortgage Choice
with John Y. Campbell: w9759
A typical household has a home mortgage as its most significant financial contract. The form of this contract is correspondingly important. This paper studies the choice between a fixed-rate (FRM) and an adjustable-rate (ARM) mortgage. In an environment with uncertain inflation, a nominal FRM has risky real capital value whereas an ARM has a stable real capital value. However an ARM can increase the short-term variability of required real interest payments. This is a disadvantage of the ARM for a household that faces borrowing constraints and has only a small buffer stock of financial assets. The paper uses numerical methods to solve a life-cycle model with risky labor income and borrowing constraints, under alternative assumptions about available mortgage contracts. While an ARM is genera...

Published: John Y. Campbell & Joao F. Cocco, 2003. "Household Risk Management And Optimal Mortgage Choice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1449-1494, November. citation courtesy of

March 1999Investing Retirement Wealth: A Life-Cycle Model
with John Y. Campbell, Francisco J. Gomes, Pascal J. Maenhout: w7029
If household portfolios are constrained by borrowing and short-sales restrictions asset markets, then alternative retirement savings systems may affect household welfare by relaxing these constraints. This paper uses a calibrated partial-equilibrium model of optimal life-cycle portfolio choice to explore the empirical relevance of these issues. In a benchmark case, we find ex-ante welfare gains equivalent to a 3.7% increase in consumption from the investment of half of retirement wealth in the equity market. The main channel through which these gains are realized is that the higher average return on equities permits a lower Social Security tax rate on younger households, which helps households smooth their consumption over the life cycle. There is a smaller welfare gain of 0.5% of cons...


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