Moving to Opportunity? The Geography of the Foreclosure Crisis and the Importance of Location

Journal of Economic Geography (2021)

86 Pages Posted: 2 May 2018 Last revised: 6 Jul 2021

See all articles by Christos Makridis

Christos Makridis

Stanford University; Arizona State University (ASU); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management; Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Michael Ohlrogge

New York University School of Law

Date Written: March 21, 2021

Abstract

Over six million households experienced foreclosure during the financial crisis. Where did they move, how did they fare, and why? First, we create a new longitudinal dataset between 2006 and 2011 from households' date of foreclosure to their relocation. Despite significant heterogeneity in mobility outcomes, we find that individuals move to, on average, higher quality locations. However, these locations are sometimes worse than what a household would have chosen at random, on average, within the same state. Second, to investigate the source behind these plausibly suboptimal moves, we quantify the contributions of three different hypotheses—(i) local labor market conditions, (ii) local composition effects, and (iii) state foreclosure institutions—towards mobility outcomes. Third, we find that individuals who move counties relocate to areas with 2.3% higher income, relative to those moving across census tracts in the same county. In sum, while our results suggest that the average foreclosed household “moved towards opportunity,” labor market frictions can play an important role in mediating the reallocation of labor over a business cycle.

Keywords: foreclosure, financial crisis, mobility, unemployment

JEL Classification: J61, J24, R31, R51

Suggested Citation

Makridis, Christos and Ohlrogge, Michael, Moving to Opportunity? The Geography of the Foreclosure Crisis and the Importance of Location (March 21, 2021). Journal of Economic Geography (2021), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3162905 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3162905

Christos Makridis (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

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E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) ( email )

810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420
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Michael Ohlrogge

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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