Marta Cota

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Hi! I am a Ph.D. candidate at the Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education—Economics Institute (CERGE EI).

My research interests lie between Macroeconomics and Household Finance. I develop structural models that encompass individual expectation heterogeneity and heterogeneity in search frictions. My supervisors are Marek Kapička (chair) and Ctirad Slavík

My CV is linked here, and you can find my job market paper here, or through the SSRN link

I will join the Finance Department at Nova SBE as an Assistant Professor in the Fall! If you are in Lisbon, reach out.                         

Working papers:

     Job Market Paper 

     Financial Skills and Search in the Mortgage Market (joint work with Ante Sterc) - paper link 

Are households with low financial skills disadvantaged on the mortgage market? We construct a unique dataset encompassing mortgage details and borrowers' attributes, including a financial literacy measure to find that households with low financial skills search less, lock in at 15-20 b.p. higher rates, face a 35-45%  higher mortgage delinquency, and end up with a 30% lower likelihood of refinancing. Overall, for a smaller $100,000 loan, the potential losses from low financial literacy are over $10,000 over the mortgage duration. To understand how financial education, more accessible mortgages, or mortgage rate changes affect households with low financial literacy, we formulate and calibrate a mortgage market model with search frictions and endogenous financial skills. Our model estimates show that search intensity and financial skill variations contribute to 55% and 10% of mortgage rate variations, respectively. We find that i) more accessible mortgages lower the search cost and lead to a higher delinquency risk among low-skilled households, ii) financial education mitigates the adverse effects of increased accessibility, and iii) low mortgage rates favor high-skilled homeowners and, by reinforcing refinancing activity, deepen consumption differences across different financial skill levels.

Extrapolative Expectations and Retirement Savings - paper link, 2nd revision at The Review of Finance

This paper uses a structural life-cycle model based on household expectations data to explain workers' retirement contribution patterns. The Michigan Survey of Consumers data shows that households extrapolate from their recent income history and overstate the persistence and volatility of their future income. I show that pessimists prefer to save in liquid accounts that they can tap into at any time. This mechanism underlies the difference in retirement contributions between rational and extrapolative workers. The life-cycle model incorporates retirement contribution incentives, including employer rate matches and tax deferrals. Even though these incentives sustain stable rates over the rational worker's life, extrapolative workers delay their contributions initially and gradually increase them over the work life, matching the contribution rates data. The policy test reveals that mandating automatic enrollment does not increase saving rates among extrapolative workers. A gradual increase in default rates matches how workers contribute and may increase total savings. 

Network Effects in Mortgage Refinancing (joint with Mauro Mastrogiacomo and Maarten van Rooij from the Dutch National Bank)

This paper estimates peer effects in mortgage refinancing in the Netherlands. We combine granular co-worker and neighbor network data with the Dutch registry data on individuals and their respective households and estimate peer effects in mortgage refinancing within a two-year window. First, we outline respective network characteristics and quantify network measures informative of the information transmission. Second, we employ the overlapping network approach to ensure robustness of our estimates. Overlapping network model estimates control for a rich set of mortgage specifics and borrower's characteristics and shows significant effects of co-worker mortgage refinancing, suggestive of workplace information transmission. Currently, we are working on a structural model that underscores the variation in individual search friction based on information exposure. 

Work in progress:

"Social Networks and the Search for Credit", joint work with Ante Sterc- slides available upon request 

"Gender Differences in Savings over the Lifecycle: The Role of Financial Literacy", joint with Marta Morazzoni and Maria Frech, slides available upon request 

"Retirement Savings and Self-Employment in an Ageing Economy ", with Marta Morazzoni