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Dealing with consumer default: Bankruptcy vs garnishment

  • Chatterjee, Satyajit
  • Gordon, Grey

What are the positive and normative implications of eliminating bankruptcy protection for indebted individuals? Without bankruptcy protection, creditors can collect on defaulted debt to the extent permitted by wage garnishment laws. The elimination lowers the default premium on unsecured debt and permits low-net-worth individuals suffering bad earnings shocks to smooth consumption by borrowing. There is a large increase in consumer debt financed essentially by super-wealthy individuals, a modest drop in capital per worker, and a higher frequency of consumer default. Average welfare rises by 1% of consumption in perpetuity, with about 90% of households favoring the change.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Monetary Economics.

Volume (Year): 59 (2012)
Issue (Month): S ()
Pages: S1-S16

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Handle: RePEc:eee:moneco:v:59:y:2012:i:s:p:s1-s16
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505566

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  1. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2011. "Maturity, indebtedness, and default risk," Working Papers 11-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Kopecky, Karen A. & Suen, Richard M. H., 2009. "Finite State Markov-Chain Approximations to Highly Persistent Processes," MPRA Paper 15122, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Kartik B. Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2009. "Are harsh penalties for default really better?," Working Paper 09-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
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  8. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," Discussion Papers 04-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  9. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2007. "A quantitative theory of unsecured consumer credit with risk of default," Working Papers 07-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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  17. Kurt Mitman, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects of Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Policies," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-015, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
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