Changing the Rules: State Mortgage Foreclosure Moratoria During the Great Depression (ICPSR 24542)

Published: Jan 9, 2009

Principal Investigator(s):
David C. Wheelock, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24542.v1

Version V1

Many U.S. states imposed temporary moratoria on farm and nonfarm residential mortgage foreclosures during the Great Depression. This article describes the conditions that led some states to impose these moratoria and other mortgage relief during the Depression and discusses the economic effects. Moratoria were more common in states with large farm populations (as a percentage of total state population) and high farm mortgage foreclosure rates, although nonfarm mortgage distress appears to help explain why a few states with relatively low farm foreclosure rates also imposed moratoria. The moratoria reduced farm foreclosure rates in the short run, but they also appear to have reduced the supply of loans and made credit more expensive for subsequent borrowers. The evidence from the Great Depression demonstrates how government actions to reduce foreclosures can impose costs that should be weighed against potential benefits.

Wheelock, David C. Changing the Rules: State Mortgage Foreclosure Moratoria During the Great Depression. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-01-09. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24542.v1

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Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Research Division

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2009-01-09

2009-01-09

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