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Labor Market Upheaval, Default Regulation, and Consumer Debt

Author

Listed:
  • Kartik Arthreya

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

  • Juan Sanchez

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Xuan Tam

    (City University, Hong Kong)

  • Eric Young

    (University of Virginia)

Abstract

In 2005, reforms made formal personal bankruptcy much more costly. Shortly after, the US began to experience its most severe recession in seventy years, and while personal bankruptcy rates rose, they rose only modestly given the severity of the rise in unemployment. By contrast, informal default through delinquency rose sharply. In the subsequent recovery, households have been widely viewed as "deleveraging" (Mian and Sufi 2011, Krugman and Eggertson 2012) via the largest reduction of unsecured debt seen in the past three decades. We measure the relative roles of recent bankruptcy reform and labor market risk in accounting for consumer debt and default over the Great Recession. Our results suggest that bankruptcy reform likely prevented a substantial increase in formal bankruptcy filings, but had only limited effect on informal default from delinquencies, and that changes in job-finding rates were central to both. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Kartik Arthreya & Juan Sanchez & Xuan Tam & Eric Young, 2015. "Labor Market Upheaval, Default Regulation, and Consumer Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 32-52, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:14-30
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2014.08.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:wly:iecrev:v:59:y:2018:i:2:p:593-623 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1427-1467.
    3. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1432-1467, September.
    4. Kartik Athreya & Juan M. Sánchez & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2018. "Bankruptcy And Delinquency In A Model Of Unsecured Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 593-623, May.
    5. Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
    6. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2011. "Household Leverage and the Recession of 2007 to 2009," SBP Research Bulletin, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department, vol. 7, pages 125-173.
    7. James X. Sullivan, 2008. "Borrowing During Unemployment: Unsecured Debt as a Safety Net," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 383-412.
    8. 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.
    9. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Gordon, Grey, 2012. "Dealing with consumer default: Bankruptcy vs garnishment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 1-16.
    10. Fatih Guvenen & Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song, 2014. "The Nature of Countercyclical Income Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 621-660.
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    12. Daphne Chen & Jake Zhao, 2017. "The Impact of Personal Bankruptcy on Labor Supply Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 40-61, October.
    13. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2010. "Household Leverage and the Recession of 2007–09," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 58(1), pages 74-117, August.
    14. Ausubel, Lawrence M, 1991. "The Failure of Competition in the Credit Card Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 50-81, March.
    15. Grey Gordon, 2015. "Evaluating default policy: The business cycle matters," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(3), pages 795-823, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gordon, Grey, 2017. "Optimal bankruptcy code: A fresh start for some," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 123-149.
    2. Kyle Herkenhoff & Gordon Phillips & Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2016. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Employment, Earnings and Entrepreneurship," NBER Working Papers 22846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Daphne Chen & Jake Zhao, 2017. "The Impact of Personal Bankruptcy on Labor Supply Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 40-61, October.
    4. Carlos Madeira, 2016. "Measuring the Covariance Risk of Consumer Debt Portfolios," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 793, Central Bank of Chile.
    5. Carlos Madeira, 2016. "Explaining the Cyclical Volatility of Consumer Debt Risk," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 772, Central Bank of Chile.
    6. Kyle Herkenhoff & Gordon Phillips & Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2016. "How Credit Constraints Impact Job Finding Rates, Sorting & Aggregate Output," Working Papers 16-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Igor Livshits, 2015. "Recent Developments In Consumer Credit And Default Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 594-613, September.
    8. Argys, Laura & Friedson, Andrew & Pitts, M. Melinda, 2016. "Killer Debt: The Impact of Debt on Mortality," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2016-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    9. repec:inu:caeprp:2014002 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kyle F. Herkenhoff & Lee E. Ohanian, 2015. "The Impact of Foreclosure Delay on U.S. Employment," NBER Working Papers 21532, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Delinquency; Personal bankruptcy; Unsecured debt; Job separation; Job finding;

    JEL classification:

    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law

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