The United States’ market-government hybrid mortgage system is unique in the world. No other nation has such heavy government intervention in housing finance. This hybrid system nurtured the excessively risky loans, financed with too much leverage, that fueled the U.S. housing bubble of the last decade and resulted in the systemic collapse of the global financial system. The responsibility for the massive failures of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, at the center of American housing finance and the private securitization system that supports housing finance, falls directly on regulators and indirectly on their political overseers.

More on Housing Markets


Time to Fix Fannie and Freddie

By Ike Brannon. The Weekly Standard. April 10, 2017.

Are We Heading toward Another Subprime Mortgage Crisis?

By William Poole. March 15, 2017.

Housing’s Drag on the Economy

By Ike Brannon. The Weekly Standard. February 9, 2017.

Cato Studies

Are Home Buyers Myopic? Evidence from Housing Sales

By Erica Myers. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 64. November 23, 2016.

U.S. Immigration Levels, Urban Housing Values, and Their Implications for Capital Share

By Ryan Murphy and Alex Nowrasteh. Working Paper No. 37. August 9, 2016.

How Are Small Banks Faring under Dodd-Frank?

By Hester Peirce, Ian Robinson, and Thomas Stratmann. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 20. February 18, 2015.


The Productivity Gap: Monetary Policy, the Subprime Boom, and the Post-2001 Productivity Surge

George Selgin, David Beckworth, and Berrak Bahadir. Journal of Policy Modeling. Vol. 37. No. 2. March 2015.

Public Filings

Piszel v. United States

By W. Scott Hastings, Andrew Buttaro, David G. Cabrales, Lucas C. Wohlford, & Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. October 14, 2016.

Bank of America Corp. et al. v. City of Miami

By Thaya Brook Knight, Ilya Shapiro, and Steven G. Bradbury. Legal Briefs. August 29, 2016.

On “Regulatory Burdens to Obtaining Mortgage Credit”

By Mark A. Calabria. Testimony. April 16, 2015.

Cato Reviews & Journals

Housing and Urban Development

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

Defending the Indefensible Mortgage Interest Deduction

Ike Brannon. Regulation. Winter 2016/2017.

Would the TPP Advance Free Trade? A Scorecard

Policy Report. November/December 2016.


34th Annual Monetary Conference

Featuring James A. Dorn, James Grant, John A. Allison, Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr., Kevin Dowd, Thomas Hoenig, Athanasios Orphanides, H. Robert Heller, Daniel L. Thornton, Tyler Goodspeed, George Selgin, Jerry L. Jordan, Steve H. Hanke, Walker F. Todd, & Phil Gramm. November 17, 2016. Conference.

Zoning Rules! The Economics of Land Use Regulation

Featuring Mark A. Calabria. October 15, 2015. Book Forum.

Did Affordable Housing Policy Cause the Financial Crisis and Can It Happen Again?

Featuring Mark A. Calabria. April 7, 2015. Policy Forum.

Downsizing the Federal Government

Public Housing and Rental Subsidies

By Howard Husock. February 2017.