IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards

  • Michelle J. White
Registered author(s):

    From 1980 to 2004, the number of personal bankruptcy filings in the United States increased more than five-fold, from 288,000 to 1.5 million per year. By 2004, more Americans were filing for bankruptcy each year than were graduating from college, getting divorced, or being diagnosed with cancer. In 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) became law. It made bankruptcy law much less debtor-friendly. Personal bankruptcy filings fell to 600,000 in 2006. This paper explores why personal bankruptcy rates rose, and will argue that the main reason is the growth of "revolving debt" -- mainly credit card debt. It explains how the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005 altered the conditions of bankruptcy. Finally, this essay considers the balances that need to be struck in a bankruptcy system and how the U.S. bankruptcy system strikes these balances in comparison with other countries. I argue that a less debtor-friendly bankruptcy policy should be accompanied by changes in bank regulation and truth-in-lending rules, so that lenders have a greater chance of facing losses when they supply too much credit or charge excessively high interest rates and fees.

    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://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.4.175
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 175-200

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:4:p:175-200
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.4.175
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

    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. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20066, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
    2. 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.
    3. Posner, Eric A, 1995. "Contract Law in the Welfare State: A Defense of the Unconscionablility Doctrine, Usury Laws, and Related Limitations on the Freedom to Contract," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 283-319, June.
    4. 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.
    5. John M. Barron & Michael E. Staten & Stephanie M. Wilshusen, 2002. "The Impact Of Casino Gambling On Personal Bankruptcy Filing Rates," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 440-455, October.
    6. Berkowitz, Jeremy & Hynes, Richard, 1999. "Bankruptcy Exemptions and the Market for Mortgage Loans," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 809-30, October.
    7. 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.
    8. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," Documentos de Trabajo 80, Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile.
    10. Fan, Wei & White, Michelle J, 2003. "Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 543-67, October.
    11. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Lin, Emily Y. & White, Michelle J., 2001. "Bankruptcy and the Market for Mortgage and Home Improvement Loans," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 138-162, July.
    13. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints And Interest Rates Matter For Consumer Behavior? Evidence From Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185, February.
    14. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:4:p:175-200. 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: (Jane Voros)

    or (Michael P. Albert)

    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.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.