Fed/GFLEC Financial Literacy Seminar Series

May 2, 2019

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Seminar V | Second Chance: Life without Student Debt

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Vincent Yao

AREA Professor of Real Estate, Georgia State University

FinLit Talks: Interviews with Financial Literacy Thought Leaders


George Washington University School of Business
Duquès Hall, Room 651
2201 G Street NW
(main entrance is on 22nd Street between G and H Streets)

Bio: Vincent Yao

Vincent Yao is the AREA Professor of Real Estate, Associate Professor, Director of Real Estate Center and Director of the College Ph.D. Program in the Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University in Atlanta GA, USA. He is also a senior research fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a research fellow at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. He holds visiting chair professorship at several universities in China. He received his BA from Renmin University of China and Ph.D. in Economics from State University of New York at Albany.

Prior to joining GSU, he spent over nine years as a director in Fannie Mae, responsible for overseeing a credit portfolio of $3 trillion loans guaranteed and securitized by the company. He was also the business sponsor of corporate models used in credit risk functions.

His current research interests are household finance, real estate finance, and housing policies. His papers have been published in the American Economic Review, Journal of Financial Economics, Management Science, Journal of Urban Economics, Real Estate Economics, and Journal of Financial Intermediation etc.

His recent research has focused on the following areas:


Rising student debt is considered one of the creeping threats of our time. This paper examines the effect of student debt relief on individual credit and labor market outcomes. We exploit the plausibly-random debt discharge, affecting thousands of borrowers across the US, due to the inability of National Collegiate, the largest owner of private student loan debt, to prove chain of title of these debts. Using hand-collected lawsuits filings matched with individual credit bureau information, we find that borrowers experiencing the debt relief shock are significantly more likely to engage in deleveraging, by both reducing their demand for credit and limiting the use of existing credit accounts, and borrowers are also significantly less likely to default on other accounts. These borrowers’ geographical mobility increases, as well as, their probability to change job and ultimately improve their income. These findings speak to the benefits of intervening in the student loan market to reduce the consequences of debt overhang problems by helping borrowers unable to afford their student loan debts.