The American Housing Finance System

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Course Date: Anytime (self-paced)

Price: free

Course Summary

More complex than you might think.

Estimated Workload: Total video time: Runs approx 15 video hours

Course Instructors

Arnold Kling

Arnold Kling has a Ph.D in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the late 1980s and early 1990s he worked at Freddie Mac. There he helped develop models used to price and manage default risk and interest-rate risk. He also spent time directing sampling and reporting for Freddie Mac's quality control. Finally, he worked on a project to automate the underwriting process, incorporating credit scoring in Freddie Mac's process for the first time. More recently, he has written several papers on the financial crisis and housing policy for the Mercatus center. He is the author of five published books.

Course Description

The course is intended for people who would like a deeper understanding of the American housing finance system. The focus will be on providing necessary background knowledge rather than on evaluating specific policy proposals.  Near the end of the course, participants will be encouraged to bring up policy issues and to discuss them in light of the information presented.

Special emphasis will be placed on two factors.  One is mortgage analytics, which means the measurement and modeling of default risk and interest-rate risk from the standpoint of the lender.  A second factor is business process and industry structure, which means describing the tasks involved in mortgage lending and characterizing the firms that perform each task.


2 Lowering the initial payment
5 Basic mortgage underwriting
13 Varieties of mortgage securities
16 Painful historical episodes & policy responses

Course Workload

Total video time: Runs approx 15 video hours

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