A Review of Statistical Problems in the Measurement of Mortgage Market Discrimination and Credit Risk

Research Institute for Housing America

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Date Published 2010
Primary Author Anthony M. Yezer
Other Authors
Country United States


Over the past twenty years, understanding of and business practice in mortgage markets has been influenced significantly by the application of statistical models. Mortgage underwriting was automated using statistical models of default and default loss, and statistical models of denial rates and loan pricing were used to test for discrimination in lending. Efforts to measure mortgage market discrimination and credit risk have been propelled by an increase in the loan-level data available through various resources. Unfortunately, as researchers strived to produce results from these data, critical statistical errors were overlooked and then repeated in what has become the “conventional approach” to measuring discrimination and credit risk. The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the fundamental assumptions integrated into this conventional model and provide insight into why the results are both biased and inaccurate.

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