Andra C. Ghent
We analyze the impact of lender recourse on mortgage defaults theoretically and empirically across U.S. states. We study the effect of state laws regarding deficiency judgments in a model where lenders can use the threat of a deficiency judgment to deter default or to shorten the default process. Empirically, we find that recourse decreases the probability of default when there is a substantial likelihood that a borrower has negative home equity. We also find that, in states that allow deficiency judgments, defaults are more likely to occur through a lender-friendly procedure, such as a deed in lieu of foreclosure.