Research Interests: household finance, real estate, applied econometrics, labor economics, urban economics.
Ph.D. in Economics, University of Michigan, 2009.
M.A. in Economics, University of Michigan, 2005.
B.A. in Economics and Political Science, Swarthmore College, 2001.
Academic Positions Held
Assistant Professor of Real Estate, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 2016 – present.
Assistant Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago, 2011 – 2016.
Faculty Research Fellow, National Bureau of Economic Research, 2016 – present.
Fellow, Center for Financial Security, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2015 – present.
Co-Director, Kreisman Initiative on Housing Law and Policy, University of Chicago, 2014 – 2016.
Visiting Assistant Professor, Stern School of Business, New York University, Spring 2016.
Economist, Division of Research and Statistics, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC, 2009 – 2011.
Associate Editor, Review of Financial Studies, 2016 – present.
Associate Editor, Management Science, 2016 – present.
Member, Academic Research Council, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute, 2015 – present.
Benjamin Keys (Forthcoming), The Credit Market Consequences of Job Displacement, Review of Economics and Statistics.
Benjamin Keys, Marco DiMaggio, Amir Kermani, Tomasz Piskorski, Rodney Ramcharan, Amit Seru, Vincent W. Yao (2018), Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Mortgage Rates, Household Consumption, and Voluntary De-Leveraging, Prior Version (Keys, Piskorski, Seru, Yao) featured in NBER Digest, March 2015.
Benjamin Keys and Jialan Wang (Forthcoming), Minimum Payments and Debt Paydown in Consumer Credit Cards, Journal of Financial Economics.
Abstract: Households that fail to refinance their mortgage when interest rates decline lose out on substantial savings. Using a random sample of outstanding US mortgages in December 2010, we estimate that approximately 20% of unconstrained households for whom refinancing was optimal had not done so. The median household would save $160/month over the remaining life of the loan, for a total present-discounted value of forgone savings of $11,500, a particularly large consumer financial mistake. To shed light on possible mechanisms, we also provide results from a mail campaign targeted at a sample of homeowners who could benefit from refinancing.
Benjamin Keys, Erik Hurst, Amit Seru, Joseph S. Vavra (2016), Regional Redistribution through the US Mortgage Market, American Economic Review, 106 (10), pp. 2982-3028.
Abstract: Regional shocks are an important feature of the US economy. Households' ability to self-insure against these shocks depends on how they affect local interest rates. In the United States, most borrowing occurs through the mortgage market and is influenced by the presence of government-sponsored enterprises (GSE). We establish that despite large regional variation in predictable default risk, GSE mortgage rates for otherwise identical loans do not vary spatially. In contrast, the private market does set interest rates which vary with local risk. We use a spatial model of collateralized borrowing to show that the national interest rate policy substantially affects welfare by redistributing resources across regions.
Benjamin Keys and Neil Bhutta (2016), Interest Rates and Equity Extraction during the Housing Boom, American Economic Review, 106 (7), pp. 1742-1774.
Abstract: Credit record panel data from 1999-2010 indicates that the likelihood of home equity extraction (borrowing, on average, about $40,000 against one's home) peaked in 2003 when mortgage rates reached historic lows. We estimate a 27 percent rise in extraction in response to a 100 basis point rate decline, and that house price growth amplifies this relationship. Differential responses to interest rates and home price appreciation by borrower age and credit score provide new evidence of financial frictions. Finally, equity extractions are associated with higher default risk, consistent with the use of borrowed funds for consumption or illiquid investment.
This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and real estate capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. There are case studies and two mid-terms, (depending on instructor). Cross-listed with REAL 721.
This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. There are case studies and two mid-terms, (depending on instructor). Cross-listed with FNCE 721.
Misperceptions about the key drivers and impacts of the housing crisis persist -- and clarifying those will ensure the same mistakes aren't repeated, Wharton experts say.Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/09/13