This paper evaluates the pros and cons of including private equity fund investments in defined contribution plans. Potential benefits include higher returns and improved diversification as well as a relatively safe method for accessing investments previously only available to institutions and the very wealthy. Despite these enticing benefits, they need to be weighed against potential challenges and costs that may arise from creating this broader access to private funds.
We study the impact of widespread adoption of work-at-home technology using an equilibrium model where people choose where to live, how to allocate their time between working at home and at the office, and how much space to use in production. A key parameter is the elasticity of substitution between working at home and in the office that we estimate using cross-sectional time-use data.
We analyze how Dodd-Frank-mandated risk retention affects the information investors extract from issuers’ retention choices in the CMBS market. We show that the required retention level is both binding and stringent.
We study complexity in the market for securitized products, a market at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007–9. The complexity of these products rose substantially in the years preceding the financial crisis. We find that securities in more complex deals default more and have lower realized returns.
We use detailed establishment-level data to understand whether and how the composition of the US stock market differs from the composition of US firms as a whole. Although the locational composition of employment in public firms is similar to that of all US firms, we find certain industries significantly overrepresented. Further, the gap between the industrial composition of publicly traded firms and all US firms has grown over the last thirty years.
We survey the properties of commercial real estate (CRE) as an asset class. We first illustrate its importance relative to the US economy and to other asset classes. We then discuss CRE ownership patterns over time.
We document what fraction of the housing stock in US cities is affordable to different family types. Rather than looking at what fraction of their income people actually pay in rent in each city, which reflects a mix of households’ ability to pay and supply conditions, we look at the extent to which the housing stock is affordable using discrete housing expenditure share cutoffs and the distribution of rents in the American Community Survey from each city.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 established a new program called “Opportunity Zones” that created tax advantages for investment locating in Census tracts with relatively low income or high poverty. Importantly, only 25% of eligible tracts in each state could be designated as an Opportunity Zone. We use detailed establishment-level data and a difference-in-difference (DiD) approach to identify the designation of a tract as an Opportunity Zone on job creation.
What makes an asset institutional-quality? This paper proposes that one reason is the existing concentration of delegated investors in a market through a liquidity channel.
We study complexity in the market for securitized products, a market at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007-2009. The complexity of these products rose substantially in the years preceding the financial crisis. We find that securities in more complex deals default more and have lower realized returns. The worse performance is economically meaningful: a one standard deviation increase in complexity represents an 18% increase in default on AAA securities. However, yields of more complex securities are not higher indicating that investors did not perceive them as riskier. Our results are consistent with complexity obfuscating security quality.
We construct a new data set tracking the daily value of life insurers’ assets at the security level. Outside of the 2008–2009 crisis, a $1 drop in the market value of assets reduces an insurer’s market equity by $0.10. During the financial crisis, this pass-through rises to $1.