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Introduction to "Housing Issues in Economic Stabilization Policy"

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Introduction to "Housing Issues in Economic Stabilization Policy" This PDF is a selection from an out-of-print volume from the National Bureau of Economic Research Volume Title: Housing Issues in Economic Stabilization Policy Volume Author/Editor: Leo Grebler Volume Publisher: Columbia University Press Volume ISBN: 0-87014-386-7 Volume URL: Publication Date: 1960 Chapter Title: Introduction to "Housing Issues in Economic Stabilization Policy" Chapter Author: Leo Grebler Chapter URL: Chapter pages in book: (p. 1 - 15) 1 Introduction Between 1955 and 1958, the federal housing programs played a highly important and controversial role in the conduct of economic stabilization policies. The amount of resources available to the housing sector was influ- enced by many administrative actions of government agencies as well as by the usual annual changes in housing legislation. The frequency and scope of these actions exceeded anything experienced previously, except in times of war. Federal credit programs in the housing sector were placed under restraints in 1955, when the economy was moving forward in an exuberant expansion. The imposition of selective controls on government-underwritten mortgages raised crucial questions typically associated with qualitative credit regula- tions. Was housing singled out for especially severe treatment and, if so, why? Did the restraints serve to correct specific maladjustments in the housing and mortgage markets or to supplement and perhaps reinforce general credit restraints, or both? Did they have effects over and above the checks provided by tightening financial markets and restrictive monetary measures? Later, in a reversal of the 1955 policy, some of the federal housing pro- grams were mobilized in an effort to moderate the decline in residential construction, while general monetary restraints were continued and even strengthened to contain the inflationary pr

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