CFS Research Fellow and Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut, Stephen Ross, along with his co-authors Weiran Huang of the Department of Finance in NYC and Ashlyn Nelson from Indiana University Bloomington, have released a working paper and policy brief that examine the spillover effects of foreclosure within broad neighborhoods.
In their recently published Housing Policy Debate article, co-authors Stephen Ross and Marsha Courchane present an overview of the research on discrimination in mortgage underwriting and pricing, the experiences of minority borrowers both prior to and during the financial crisis, and federal efforts to mitigate foreclosures during the crisis. They discuss the history of legal cases alleging disparate treatment of minority borrowers, and recent cases alleging disparate impact in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Inclusive Communities decision. Using these discussions as a background, Ross and Courchane examine and discuss mortgage regulations issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau following the financial crisis, describe recent developments in the FinTech industry and explore the implications for fair lending policy and minority borrowers more generally. The authors draw conclusions and make recommendations for improving the mortgage market outcomes of minority borrowers and increasing minority borrowers’ access to credit.
The report introduces a new intervention called “FINMed.” FINMed is brief, solution-focused financial coaching session designed for people facing new ongoing out-of-pocket medical expenses or a pattern of problems paying for ongoing health care needs. The coaching involves:
- Determining the patient’s health goals and motivation
- Planning for the costs of health care
- Setting up a process to make sure the patient will have the funds needed when the next set of care (e.g., refill or therapy session) is due
This reports present research into the relationship between household financial behaviors and the ability to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, particularly prescription drugs. Overall, households struggling to manage their finances appear more likely to skip medical treatments due to cost. In turn, failing to follow through on a medical treatment can lead to higher costs and worsening health status.
The Center for Financial Security recently completed an evaluation of My Classroom Economy (MCE), an innovative approach to financial education. In contrast to more traditional financial education programs based around lesson plans, MCE is experiential. Teachers establish a classroom-based economy that integrates into the school day as a classroom management system. Research suggests that this type of experiential approach is a promising teaching strategy, with the added benefit of minimizing time away from other classroom activities.
During the 2015-2016 school year, 24 elementary schools in the School District of Palm Beach County, FL participated in the evaluation. Students in MCE classrooms show consistent gains in financial knowledge, budgeting, financial socialization, and economic experience after 10 weeks. These effects range in size but are all statistically significant and positive. Overall, the results of this study are encouraging and highlight the promise of experiential learning programs like MCE for elementary school–age students.
Presentation slides from the September 21, 2016 webinar are available to view.
A supplementary guide discusses the Center’s development of the survey measures used in the evaluation.
The evaluation was performed under contract TOS-14F-0028 for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Retirement planning is a difficult task for many people in the U.S. and as studies by the National Institute on Retirement Security show, about 38 million working-age households do not have any retirement savings. Various tactics to increase participation in retirement savings in the workplace have been employed, such as tax subsidies and automatic defaults. Some states are even seeking to pass legislation on state run retirement programs for private sector employees.
A newly published paper,The Role of Information on Retirement Planning: Evidence from a Field Study, authored by CFS Faculty Director J. Michael Collins and CFS Research Fellow Carly Urban, present the findings of a randomized field study showing that an information-based intervention increased participation in retirement plan savings. Education programs offered to employees increased their monthly contributions to retirement accounts, a finding that shows promise for retirement education programs as a strategy for increased saving.