The course of empire: A retrospective on the US housing crisis
In a recent 'Eye on the Market' outlook, Michael Cembalest of JP Morgan cited the work of AEI Resident Scholar Ed Pinto as forming the foundation of the analyses used in 'The Course of Empire': a retrospective on the US housing crisis

Editor’s Note: In a recent “Eye on the Market” outlook, Michael Cembalest of JP Morgan cited the work of AEI Resident Scholar Ed Pinto as forming the foundation of the analyses used in “The Course of Empire”: a retrospective on the US housing crisis, which opens with:

Thomas Cole’s 19th century paintings entitled Course of Empire, chronicling the rise and fall of civilizations, have been re-interpreted below as a commentary on the US housing crisis. Why now? This retrospective is made possible in part by a decision by the Federal Housing Finance Authority requiring Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to finally release detailed information on loans they acquired and guaranteed1. The release was only required on 35 million fully-amortizing, full-documentation, 30-year fixed rate mortgages, meaning that the underwriting histories on another roughly 20-30 million loans (e.g., the riskier ones) remain a mystery. Even so, this conveniently selective disclosure adds to the evolving understanding of what took place, and why.

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