The economic explainability of machine learning and standard econometric models-an application to the U.S. mortgage default risk


This study aims to bridge the gap between two perspectives of explainability−machine learning and engineering, and economics and standard econometrics−by applying three marginal measurements. The existing real estate literature has primarily used econometric models to analyze the factors that affect the default risk of mortgage loans. However, in this study, we estimate a default risk model using a machine learning-based approach with the help of a U.S. securitized mortgage loan database. Moreover, we compare the economic explainability of the models by calculating the marginal effect and marginal importance of individual risk factors using both econometric and machine learning approaches. Machine learning-based models are quite effective in terms of predictive power; however, the general perception is that they do not efficiently explain the causal relationships within them. This study utilizes the concepts of marginal effects and marginal importance to compare the explanatory power of individual input variables in various models. This can simultaneously help improve the explainability of machine learning techniques and enhance the performance of standard econometric methods.

Keyword : mortgage loan, default risk, machine learning, explainability, marginal effect, partial dependence plot, SHAP

How to Cite
Kim, D.- sup, & Shin, S. (2021). The economic explainability of machine learning and standard econometric models-an application to the U.S. mortgage default risk. International Journal of Strategic Property Management, 25(5), 396–412.
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Jul 13, 2021
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