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Sunk Costs and Mortgage Default

Richard K. Green, Eric Rosenblatt and Vincent Yao
In this paper, we estimate default hazard functions that include standard variables along with borrowers sunk cost: i.e., down payment at loan origination. After testing large numbers of specifications, we find that after controlling for mark-to-market loan-to-value, initial combined loan to value remains an important predictor of default. We also find, contrary to Guiso, Sapienze and Zingales (2009), that there is not a specific point at which one observes a discontinuous default probability, but that it is rather that default is smooth in mark-to-market LTV.