Theses Doctoral

Essays on Housing and Macroeconomics

Shin, Wonmun

This dissertation consists of three essays on housing and macroeconomics. The first chapter documents cross-country evidence on house prices, rental prices, and consumption volatility, especially, by focusing on comparison between emerging country group and rich country group. The second chapter develops a theoretical model framework for small open economy with housing and housing rental markets, and investigates how the model explains the empirical regularities documented in the first chapter. The third chapter discusses the excess consumption volatility observed in emerging countries using higher house price volatility in those countries through a theoretical model.

In Chapter 1, I address business cycles in emerging economies exhibit both greater volatility of housing prices and relative consumption compared to business cycles in rich countries. This chapter provides evidence of a positive relationship between housing price and relative consumption volatility across countries. Furthermore, I suggest new stylized facts when housing and non-housing consumption are disaggregated: first, housing consumption is more volatile than non-housing consumption in emerging countries; and, second, even after controlling for housing consumption volatility, non-housing consumption in emerging economies is still more volatile than that in rich countries. In order to investigate the above empirical regularities, this chapter tries to figure out what is different between two country groups in terms of fundamental related to housing, by focusing on homeownership rates and housing rental market characteristics.

In Chapter 2, I explore the linkage between house prices and aggregate consumption volatility by building a business cycle model of a small open economy with both housing and rental markets. While housing consumption, as measured through rental prices, is a non-negligible portion of total consumption, the role of the rental market has largely been overlooked in studies of consumption volatility. By explicitly modeling separate housing and rental sectors, this chapter is able to explain some new stylized facts suggested in the first chapter. Simulation results suggest that cross-country variation in the volatility of shocks to credit prices and availability is a driving force in generating the observed relationship between house price and relative consumption volatility. The model also suggests that a financial friction stemming from constraints in housing-collateralized credit can explain excess non-housing consumption volatility in emerging countries, while rental market frictions may account for the greater housing consumption volatility observed.

In Chapter 3, I mainly discuss the causal effect of exogenous house price shock in explaining the excess consumption volatility puzzle observed in emerging countries. Specifically, first, this chapter compares the impulse responses of house price shock and income shock to show that house price is more relevant factor in understanding consumption fluctuation, and then analyses homeowners’ and renters’ behavior to figure out how the house price shock transmits to each agent’s consumption. As a result, given the highly volatile house prices in emerging economies, I show that homeowners play an essential role in amplifying the effect of house price fluctuations on consumption fluctuations through a simplified theoretical model. Therefore, this chapter argues that higher house price volatility in emerging countries leads to their excess consumption volatility.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Schmitt-Grohe, Stephanie
Uribe, Martin
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 13, 2020