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Between Neo-Liberalism and the Social Market: Approaches to Debt Adjustment and Consumer Insolvency in the EU

  • Iain Ramsay

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    Many EU countries introduced debt adjustment systems as a response to the growth of over-indebtedness since the 1980s. These systems, originally introduced in many countries as crisis measures, have now become normalized, metamorphosing through a continuing learning process into a combination of debt adjustment and insolvency relief through a discharge of debt, sometimes after only 1 year, but often after a debt repayment plan over a period of 3–7 years. Since the early 2000s, new Member States of the EU have also introduced insolvency systems, often based on models from the old states. This paper examines experience in European consumer insolvency systems, based on the modest empirical studies of existing systems, primarily England, France and Germany. It discusses the reasons for the use of consumer insolvency, and the limited data on the characteristics of users, charts distinct national approaches and outlines common themes and objectives for consumer insolvency in the context of EU measures to create an integrated credit market in a “competitive social market. To economy”. It concludes by underlining the absence of systematic social science knowledge on existing systems and outlines areas for further research. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10603-012-9210-0
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Consumer Policy.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 421-441

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jcopol:v:35:y:2012:i:4:p:421-441
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    1. Aldo Barba & Massimo Pivetti, 2009. "Rising household debt: Its causes and macroeconomic implications--a long-period analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 113-137, January.
    2. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2007. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," NBER Working Papers 13363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Sgard, Jérôme, 2006. "Do legal origins matter? The case of bankruptcy laws in Europe 1808–1914," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/13599, Paris Dauphine University.
    4. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/6824 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," Discussion Papers 04-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    6. 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.
    7. Barry Adler & Ben Polak & Alan Schwartz, 1999. "Regulating Consumer Bankruptcy: A Theoretical Inquiry," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm128, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Jul 2000.
    8. Jérôme Sgard, 2006. "Do legal origins matter? The case of bankruptcy laws in Europe 1808–1914," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/6824, Sciences Po.
    9. John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2008. "Bankruptcy Law and Entrepreneurship," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 303-350.
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