Fresh start or head start? Uniform bankruptcy exemptions and welfare
The 1990's witnessed a historically unprecedented number of personal bankruptcy filings. In response, congressional debate over bankruptcy law has recently led to several proposals aimed at making it more difficult to exempt wealth in bankruptcy. In this paper, I evaluate uniform exemption policy primarily within the context of the recent congressional proposal H.R. 975. I develop an incomplete markets model where secured and unsecured assets coexist and are treated differentially in a bankruptcy proceeding. I find that exemptions are associated positively with filing rates and the amount of equity held at the time of filing. Conversely, exemptions are strongly negatively associated with the availability of unsecured credit. The welfare consequences of exemptions, while small, are positive for high exemptions and negative for low ones. Steady state welfare is maximized under a full exemption, and is worth $28.24 annually to the average household. The results are robust, and show that increases in bankruptcy exemptions beyond current state averages are largely a matter of indifference, and do not merit the heated debate they have generated.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
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.:
- Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2005.
"Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start,"
04-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
- Loretta J. Mester, 1993.
"Why are credit card rates sticky?,"
93-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- 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.
- S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994.
"Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
- Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989.
"On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes,"
Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
- John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Flodén, Martin & Linde, Jesper, 1998.
"Idiosyncratic Risk in the U.S. and Sweden: Is there a Role for Government Insurance?,"
654, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
- Martin Floden & Jesper Lindé, 2001. "Idiosyncratic Risk in the United States and Sweden: Is There a Role for Government Insurance?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 406-437, July.
- Floden, M. & Linde, J., 1998. "Idiosyncratic Risk in the U.S. and Sweden: Is there a Role for Government Insurance?," Papers 654, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- 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.
- David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," NBER Working Papers 8409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 98-28, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
- William R. Zame, 1992.
"Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets are Incomplete,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
673, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Zame, William R, 1993. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets Are Incomplete," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1142-64, December.
- William R. Zame, 1990. "Efficiency and the Role of Default When Security Markets are Incomplete," UCLA Economics Working Papers 585, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Wendy Edelberg, 2003. "Risk-based pricing of interest rates in household loan markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-62, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle J. White, 1997.
"Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 217-251.
- Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1987.
"Intertemporal Labor Supply and Long-term Employment Contracts,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 50-68, March.
- John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "Intertemporal Labor Supply and Long Term Employment Contracts," NBER Working Papers 1831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:cup:macdyn:v:1:y:1997:i:2:p:355-86 is not listed on IDEAS
- Ronel Elul & Narayanan Subramanian, 2002. "Forum-Shopping and Personal Bankruptcy," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 21(3), pages 233-255, June.
- Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "The Importance of Entrepreneurship for Wealth Concentration and Mobility," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 1-19, March.
- Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2000. "Default in a General Equilibrium Model with Incomplete Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1247, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- 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.
- Marina Pavan, 2003. "Consumer Durables and Risky Borrowing: the Effects of Bankruptcy Protection," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 573, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 May 2005.
- 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.
- Athreya, Kartik B. & Simpson, Nicole B., 2006.
"Unsecured debt with public insurance: From bad to worse,"
Journal of Monetary Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 797-825, May.
- Kartik B. Athreya & Nicole B. Simpson, 2004. "Unsecured debt with public insurance : from bad to worse," Working Paper 03-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
- Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2007.
"A quantitative theory of unsecured consumer credit with risk of default,"
07-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
- 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.
- Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Pe©rez(CAERP) 2, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
- Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
- Charles GRANT, 2003. "Evidence on the Effect of US Consumer Bankruptcy Exemptions," Economics Working Papers ECO2003/19, European University Institute.
- Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
- Timothy Q. Cook & Robert K. LaRoche (eds), 1993. "Instruments of the money market," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, number 1993iotm, July.
- Timothy Q. Cook & Robert K. LaRoche (eds), 1993. "Instruments of the money market (foreword)," Monograph, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, number 1993iotmm, July.
- Den Haan, Wouter J., 1997. "Solving Dynamic Models With Aggregate Shocks And Heterogeneous Agents," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(02), pages 355-386, June.
- Raskovich, A. & Froeb, L., 1992. "Has Competition Failed in the Credit Card Market?," Papers 92-7, U.S. Department of Justice - Antitrust Division.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:30:y:2006:i:11:p:2051-2079. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)
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.