Elizabeth Currid on celebrities, attention-seeking, and philanthropy

Social activism, Ms. Currid points out, is the modern currency in Hollywood, forming an important part of a performer’s public persona. Celebrities use it to jockey for position in the entertainment ecosystem. The relationship between celebrities and fans has become less iconic and more accessible, she says, adding that their appeal is more about their personal narrative and less about talent or glamour.

link: Gulf oil spill, Haiti, Darfur: Hollywood stars rush to do their bit – CSMonitor.com

Just one thing. It’s Dr. Currid.

High credit scores among deliberate defaulters?

I am confused by this entry from Lending Tree:

Recently, Morgan Stanley revealed there is a rate of about 12 percent of mortgage defaults that are made up of homeowners who do have the means to pay for the mortgage but don’t. The company’s recent report showed borrowers who had high credit scores and loans were more likely to stop paying their mortgage when the rate was higher than what the home was worth. As of March, online real estate database reported about 23 percent of single-family homes had loans that were more than what the properties value was.

link: Fannie Mae Will Deny Loans to Deliberate Defaulters

So does this mean that high credit scores are measuring something other than credit-worthiness the way we’ve always been told? What’s the latent variable here? Or latent variables? Or I am not reading this correctly?

An article last year from the LA Times:

Reporting from Washington — Who is more likely to walk away from a house and a mortgage — a person with super-prime credit scores or someone with lower scores? Research using a massive sample of 24 million individual credit files has found that homeowners with high scores when they apply for a loan are 50% more likely to “strategically default” — abruptly and intentionally pull the plug and abandon the mortgage — compared with lower-scoring borrowers

link: Homeowners who ‘strategically default’ on loans a growing problem – latimes.com

So is this a question of all those risk-assessors getting trapped in their own logic? Hypotheses:

a) People with higher scores were more likely to be allowed to over-invest than those with lower scores–thus winding up underwater more often.

b) People with higher scores are more likely to do the math, and look to the bottom line, realizing that they are better off financially getting banned for a few years and taking the credit hit than they are continuing to pay on a house that will never come back to the value they paid; or

c) those with high credit can take the hit on their credit and not have it hurt their chances of getting housing or other credit than those with lower credit.

Interesting hypotheses. Too bad I have no idea how study any of them.

TRUE Independence Day

From an announcement from Frank Popper:

The link below comes from TRUE Independence Day, a group formed
on Facebook less than two weeks ago by Frank Popper and Rebecca and Matthew Hersh,
a brother and sister who are neighbors of mine in Highland Park, New Jersey.

A response to the BP/Gulf crisis, TID asks its members not to
buy gas from any source on July 4. TID’s point is not to harm oil
companies or gas stations, which is impossible in a one-day
boycott anyway. Instead the point is make a vivid symbolic patriotic
gesture against American dependence on oil, its politics, and its
environmental and economic damage to our country.

We are all complicit in these matters. We should start grasping
our involvement and take measures to undo it. The July 4 action
represents a relatively easy and simple first step in that direction.

Our Facebook group has gathered over 1300 members in the last
ten days. The statement linked below appeared on our website,
cleanenergypolicy@wordpress.com, two days ago. Please do everything
you can to help us before July 4: join our group, tell others about it,
write about it. And then don’t buy gas on July 4.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with me, Rebecca
or Matt. Thanks and best wishes,
Frank Popper
Rutgers and Princeton Universities

fpopper@rci.rutgers.edu, fpopper@princeton.edu
732-932-4009, X689 (Rutgers office)