September 18, 2023

Published Research

Using Administrative Data to Examine Telemedicine Usage Among Medicaid Beneficiaries During the COVID-19 Pandemic (w/ Emma Dean and Daniel Kaliski), Medical Care (July 2022). Published version;

A World Without Borders Revisited: The Impact of Online Sales Tax Collection on Shopping and Search, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy (Spring 2022). Published version; Working paper version

Credit Card Trends During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Supervisory Research Forum Spotlight (2021 Q4). Published version;

Working Papers

California Wildfires, Property Damage, and Mortgage Repayment (w/ Siddhartha Biswas and David Zink)

Abstract: We find that 90-day delinquencies were 4 percentage points higher and prepayments were 16 percentage points higher for properties that were damaged by wildfires compared to properties 1 to 2 miles outside of the wildfire, which suggests higher risks to mortgage markets than found in previous studies. We find no significant changes in delinquency or prepayment for undamaged properties inside a wildfire boundary. Prepayments are not driven by increased sales or refinances, suggesting insurance claims drive prepayment. We provide evidence that underinsurance may force borrowers to prepay instead of rebuild.

Not Cashing In on Cashing Out: An Analysis of Low Cash-Out Refinance Rates (w/ Igor Livshits and Collin Wardius)

Abstract: Lowering a borrower’s interest rate is one of the most effective ways to reduce a borrower’s debt burden. Mortgage refinancing offers a chance to shift debt balances from high-interest loans into a low-interest mortgage through “cashing out” some of the home’s equity. Borrowers could reduce their monthly payments by up to 13 percent by folding a student loan with a 6 percent interest rate into a mortgage with a 3 percent interest rate. Using anonymized data on mortgage refinancing behavior, we find that over half of borrowers with high-interest loans and available home equity do not take advantage of their cash-out opportunities. Strikingly, this pattern is seen among borrowers who have already chosen to refinance their mortgage, thereby overcoming inertia, information frictions, and large fixed costs associated with the decision to refinance. Furthermore, even when the last remaining fixed cost (cash-out surcharge) is eliminated for student-loan borrowers by a policy change at Fannie Mae, we find that the presence of a student loan does not significantly affect borrowers’ propensity to cash out after these surcharges are eliminated.

Less is More Expensive: Income Differences in Bulk Buying

Abstract: Increasing the salience of unit prices can reduce consumption inequality. Using Nielsen data, I show that low-income households forgo savings by not buying in bulk. I estimate that low-income households could save 5% on groceries if they bought in bulk like high-income households. Using novel data on state-level unit-price regulations and warehouse club entry, I find that cognitive costs, store preferences, liquidity constraints, and storage costs discourage low-income households from bulk buying. Mandating unit price display, a policy adopted by nine states, may reduce cognitive costs, increase the salience of unit prices, and close the ``bulk buying gap’’ by 26%.

Research In Progress

Measuring Flood Insurance Noncompliance (w/ Solomon Tarlin and David Wylie)

Flood Risk and MBS Pricing (w/ Jacob Dice and David Rodziewic)

Made from Scratch: SNAP and Lottery Sales (in progress) with Jason Sockin