I conduct research in six broad subject areas as detailed below. Of most policy interest is a talk I recently gave at the AEA meetings in Philadelphia in a session called “Is Neglect Benign” with Bob Shiller as session chair. My paper outlines the role of policy makers and the press in the fiasco that is U.S. housing finance policy. Feel free to spread the word.
The presentation itself includes illustrations
Subject Area 1: Economics and Psychology
Three connected recent papers:
Work on Imperfect Perception (with Daniel Martin) added June 14 2013:
Work on Rational Inattention (with Mark Dean) added June 14 2013:
Subject Area 2: Indivisibilities and Economic Outcomes
Subject Area 3: Life Cycle Consumption and Portfolio Choice
Added September 18 2013: This is a very exciting area of research now that the MINYVan research project (Michigan-NYU-Vanguard) is showing first fruits. Specifically, the Vanguard Research Initiative Panel is now constituted, Survey 1 has been completed, and Survey 2 is being programmed. No papers are available as yet, but materials have been prepared for conferences in Aspen and NYU. There will be presentations on the VRI panel and on the MINYVan Annuity Project. I include links below to the presentation, to an overall project description that includes a feedback form, and to four technical supplements.
1. NYU Presentation
7. Supplement 4 – Survey Interviews: Interviews to be conducted after a Pilot run of Survey 2
Subject Area 4: Real Estate Finance
Recent Work on FHA (with Anna Cororaton and Joe Tracy)
A central point in the paper is that FHA uses outmoded methods and as a result seriously understates risks to borrowers and to taxpayers. I made this point directly to Congress in 2010 and again in 2011. Time is almost up.
Subject Area 5: Individual Differences And Outcomes In Economics And Politics
While the topics are diverse, they form part of a web of long term personal interests. One connecting thread in the first three subject areas is the drive to connect the highest level of abstraction with the finest points of empirical detail. In all cases, I aspire to identify and to model the major forces at work, to measure the corresponding theoretical constructs, and to gauge the match between model and measurement. On a side note, my current work with John Leahy (A Graph Theoretic Approach to Markets and Divisible Goods and Comparative Statics in Markets for Indivisible Goods available under “Indivisibilities”) involves novel mathematics. To my surprise, I find myself becoming more comfortable with abstraction as I age, and as a result more capable of contributing to technical advance.
My research on real estate finance in subject area four centers on my long running effort to seed the development of markets in housing equity. This has brought me into contact with the realities of housing policy in the U.S., an activity that has been profoundly depressing, as indicated herein, and in the above paper on FHA under subject area 4 above.
Subject Area 6: U.S. Housing Policy: In Crisis