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An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency

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  • David B. Gross
  • Nicholas S. Souleles

Abstract

This paper uses a unique new panel data set of credit card accounts to analyze credit card delinquency and more generally personal bankruptcy and the stability of credit risk models. We estimate duration models for default and assess the relative importance of different variables in predicting default. We investigate how the propensity to default has changed over time, disentangling the two leading explanations for the recent increase in default rates – a deterioration in the risk-composition of borrowers versus a reduction in the social stigma of default. Even after controlling for risk-composition and other economic fundamentals, the propensity to default significantly increased between 1995 and 1997. By contrast, increases in credit limits and other changes in risk-composition explain only a small part of the change in default rates. Standard default models appear to have missed an important time-varying default factor, consistent with the stigma effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania in its series Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers with number 98-28.

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Date of creation: Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:98-28

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Keywords: Personal bankruptcy; Forecasting default; Credit risk management; Consumer credit; Credit cards;

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  1. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," NBER Working Papers 8314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Ian Domowitz & Robert L. Sartain, 1999. "Determinants of the Consumer Bankruptcy Decision," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(1), pages 403-420, 02.
  4. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Local Labor Markets and Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," NBER Working Papers 5643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jappelli, Tullio & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen & Souleles, Nicholas, 1995. "Testing for Liquidity Constraints in Euler Equations with Complementary Data Sources," CEPR Discussion Papers 1138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. repec:fth:pennfi:69 is not listed on IDEAS
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