Jaren Pope

Department of Economics
130 Faculty Office Building
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Brigham Young University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2019Contemporary State Policies and Intergenerational Income Mobility
with Lars J. Lefgren, David P. Sims: w25896
Using county-level analysis, this study demonstrates that there exists at most a minor relationship between the large, contemporary geographical variation in U.S. intergenerational income mobility and state-level policies. In addition to investigating the effects of specific policies, we introduce an omnibus test for state policy differences in total, based on the principle of geographic discontinuities. We further explore the discrepancy between these findings and the expected efficacy of mobility-enhancing policies seen in common applied economic models and successful program evaluations. We conclude that the gap between quasi-experimental evaluations and observed policy effects presents pressing questions for further study.
August 2014Failure to Refinance
with Benjamin J. Keys, Devin G. Pope: w20401
Households that fail to refinance their mortgage when interest rates decline can lose out on substantial savings. Based on a large random sample of outstanding U.S. mortgages in December of 2010, we estimate that approximately 20% of households for whom refinancing would be optimal and who appeared unconstrained to do so, had not taken advantage of the lower rates. We estimate the present-discounted cost to the median household who fails to refinance to be approximately $11,500, making this a particularly large consumer financial mistake. To shed light on possible mechanisms and corroborate our main findings, we also provide results from a mail campaign targeted at a sample of homeowners that could benefit from refinancing.

Published: Keys, Benjamin J. & Pope, Devin G. & Pope, Jaren C., 2016. "Failure to refinance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 482-499. citation courtesy of

July 2012Projection Bias in the Car and Housing Markets
with Meghan R. Busse, Devin G. Pope, Jorge Silva-Risso: w18212
Projection bias is the tendency to overpredict the degree to which one's future tastes will resemble one's current tastes. We test for evidence of projection bias in two of the largest and most important consumer markets - the car and housing markets. Using data for more than forty million vehicle transactions and four million housing purchases, we explore the impact of the weather on purchasing decisions. We find that the choice to purchase a convertible, a 4-wheel drive, or a vehicle that is black in color is highly dependent on the weather at the time of purchase in a way that is inconsistent with classical utility theory. Similarly, we find that the hedonic value that a swimming pool and that central air add to a house is higher when the house goes under contract in the summertime com...
May 2012When Walmart Comes to Town: Always Low Housing Prices? Always?
with Devin G. Pope: w18111
Walmart often faces strong local opposition when trying to build a new store. Opponents often claim that Walmart lowers nearby housing prices. In this study we use over one million housing transactions located near 159 Walmarts that opened between 2000 and 2006 to test if the opening of a Walmart does indeed lower housing prices. Using a difference-in-differences specification, our estimates suggest that a new Walmart store actually increases housing prices by between 2 and 3 percent for houses located within 0.5 miles of the store and by 1 to 2 percent for houses located between 0.5 and 1 mile.

Published: Pope, Devin G. & Pope, Jaren C., 2015. "When Walmart comes to town: Always low housing prices? Always?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-13. citation courtesy of

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