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Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start

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Author Info

  • Igor Livshits
  • James MacGee
  • Mich�le Tertilt

Abstract

Consumer bankruptcy provides partial insurance against bad luck, but, by driving up interest rates, makes life-cycle smoothing more difficult. We argue that to assess this trade-off one needs a quantitative model of consumer bankruptcy with three key features: life-cycle component, idiosyncratic earnings uncertainty, and expense uncertainty (exogenous negative shocks to household balance sheets). We find that transitory and persistent earnings shocks have very different implications for evaluating bankruptcy rules. More persistent shocks make the bankruptcy option more desirable. Larger transitory shocks have the opposite effect. Our findings suggest the current US bankruptcy system may be desirable for reasonable parameter values. (JEL D14, D91, K35)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.97.1.402
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/mar07/20030636_data.zip
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 402-418

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:1:p:402-418

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.1.402
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References

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  1. Scott Fay & Erik Hurst & Michelle J. White, 2002. "The Household Bankruptcy Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 706-718, June.
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  3. Wenli Li, 2001. "To forgive or not to forgive : an analysis of U.S. consumer bankruptcy choices," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 1-22.
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  12. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Mich�le Tertilt, 2007. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 402-418, March.
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  16. Pavan, Marina, 2008. "Consumer durables and risky borrowing: The effects of bankruptcy protection," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1441-1456, November.
  17. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Krueger, Dirk, 2011. "Consumption And Saving Over The Life Cycle: How Important Are Consumer Durables?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(05), pages 725-770, November.
  18. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Jerome Adda & Russell W. Cooper, 2003. "Dynamic Economics: Quantitative Methods and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012014, January.
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