Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Are harsh penalties for default really better?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Kartik B. Athreya
  • Xuan S. Tam
  • Eric R. Young

Abstract

How might society ensure the allocation of credit to those who lack meaningful collateral? Two very different options that have each been pursued by a variety of societies through time and space are (i) relatively harsh penalties for default and, more recently, (ii) loan guarantee programs that allow borrowers to default subject to moderate consequences and use public funds to compensate lenders. The goal of this paper is to provide a quantitative statement about the relative desirability of these responses. Our findings are twofold. First, we show that under a wide array of circumstances, punishments harsh enough to ensure all debt is repaid improve welfare. With respect to loan guarantees, our findings suggest that such efforts are largely useless at best, and substantially harmful at worst. Generous loan guarantees virtually ensure substantially higher taxes — with transfers away from the non-defaulting poor to the defaulting middle-class — and greater deadweight loss from high equilibrium default rates. Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that current policy toward default is likely to be counterproductive, and that guarantees for consumption loans are not the answer.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://richmondfed.org/publications/research/working_papers/2009/wp_09-11.cfm
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://richmondfed.org/publications/research/working_papers/2009/pdf/wp09-11.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in its series Working Paper with number 09-11.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:09-11

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.richmondfed.org/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.richmondfed.org/publications/

Related research

Keywords: Credit ; Bankruptcy;

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. William R. Zame, 1992. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets are Incomplete," UCLA Economics Working Papers 673, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Michel A. Robe & Eva-Maria Steiger & Pierre-Armand Michel, 2006. "Penalties and Optimality in Financial Contracts: Taking Stock," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2006-013, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
  4. repec:cto:journl:v:21:y:2002:i:3:p:369-393 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. 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.
  6. Timothy J. Kehoe & David K. Levine, 1992. "Debt constrained asset markets," Working Papers 445, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. David B. Gross, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 319-347, March.
  8. Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2000. "Model Uncertainty and Liquidity," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1617, Econometric Society.
  9. Borys Grochulski, 2007. "Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Design: A Mirrlees Approach," 2007 Meeting Papers 1008, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2006. "Finite-Life, Private-Information Theory of Unsecured Debt," 2006 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1304, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  12. Klibanoff, Peter & Marinacci, Massimo & Mukerji, Sujoy, 2009. "Recursive smooth ambiguity preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 930-976, May.
  13. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Ian V�¡squez, 2002. "A Retrospective on the Mexican Bailout," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 21(3), Winter.
  15. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
  16. Jim MacGee & Igor Livshits & Michele Tertilt, 2008. "Costly Contracts and Consumer Credit," 2008 Meeting Papers 385, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  17. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," Macroeconomics 0507004, EconWPA.
  18. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
  19. Tony Smith & M. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Inferring Labor Income Risk from Economic Choices: An Indirect Inference Approach," 2007 Meeting Papers 1024, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Flodén, Martin, 2008. "A note on the accuracy of Markov-chain approximations to highly persistent AR(1) processes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(3), pages 516-520, June.
  21. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2001. "Temptation and Self-Control," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(6), pages 1403-1435, November.
  22. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  23. Kartik Athreya, 2004. "Shame as it ever was : stigma and personal bankruptcy," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 1-19.
  24. David Andolfatto, 1999. "A Theory of Inalienable Property Rights," Working Papers 99004, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Nov 1999.
  25. Bryan R. Routledge & Stanley E. Zin, 2010. "Generalized Disappointment Aversion and Asset Prices," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 65(4), pages 1303-1332, 08.
  26. Gul, Faruk, 1991. "A Theory of Disappointment Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 667-86, May.
  27. Fay, S. & Hurst, E. & White, M.J., 1998. "The Bankruptcy Decision: Does Stigma Matter?," Papers 98-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  28. Athreya, Kartik B., 2008. "Default, insurance, and debt over the life-cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 752-774, May.
  29. Epstein, Larry G. & Schneider, Martin, 2003. "Recursive multiple-priors," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 1-31, November.
  30. Kartik Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2012. "A Quantitative Theory of Information and Unsecured Credit," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 153-83, July.
  31. Paul S. Calem & Michael B. Gordy & Loretta J. Mester, 2005. "Switching costs and adverse selection in the market for credit cards: new evidence," Working Papers 05-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  32. Wang, Hung-Jen & White, Michelle J, 2000. "An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reforms," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 255-86, January.
  33. Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
  34. Li, Wenli, 2002. "Entrepreneurship and government subsidies: A general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(11), pages 1815-1844, September.
  35. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  36. Athreya, Kartik B., 2002. "Welfare implications of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1999," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 1567-1595, November.
  37. Fernando Alvarez & Urban J. Jermann, 2000. "Efficiency, Equilibrium, and Asset Pricing with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 775-798, July.
  38. Nadezhda Malysheva & John R. Walter, 2010. "How large has the federal financial safety net become?," Working Paper 10-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  39. Bewley, Truman, 1977. "The permanent income hypothesis: A theoretical formulation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 252-292, December.
  40. Mateos-Planas, Xavier & Seccia, Giulio, 2006. "Welfare implications of endogenous credit limits with bankruptcy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2081-2115, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Gordon, Grey, 2012. "Dealing with consumer default: Bankruptcy vs garnishment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages S1-S16.
  2. Athreya, Kartik & Sánchez, Juan M. & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2012. "Bankruptcy and delinquency in a model of unsecured debt," Working Papers 2012-042, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 30 Jan 2014.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedrwp:09-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (William Perkins).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.