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The Bankruptcy Puzzle

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  • Buckley, F H
  • Brinig, Margaret F

Abstract

This article offers new evidence on the determinants of U.S. consumer bankruptcy filing rates, which tripled from 1984 to 1991. The run-up in filing rates does not appear to be a consequence of legal changes since the increase coincided with Bankruptcy Code amendments designed to reduce filing rates by rejecting opportunistic petitions. The run-up also coincided with a major economic boom and crested with the 1991 recession. However, much of the variation in district filing rates is attributable to differences in social variables, and we suggest that changes in social norms might account for the increased bankruptcy filings. This article is therefore a contribution to social capital explanations of behavior. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Buckley, F H & Brinig, Margaret F, 1998. "The Bankruptcy Puzzle," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 187-207, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:27:y:1998:i:1:p:187-207
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/468018
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 165-193, April.
    2. Hülya Eraslan & Wenli Li & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2007. "The anatomy of U.S. personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13," Working Papers 07-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    3. Wenli Li & Pierre-Daniel Sarte & Hulya Eraslan, 2007. "A Structural Model of Chapter 13 Personal Bankruptcy," 2007 Meeting Papers 972, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. 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.
    5. Stam, Jerome M. & Dixon, Bruce L., 2004. "Farmer Bankruptcies And Farm Exits In The United States, 1899-2002," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33689, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Song Han & Wenli Li, 2004. "Fresh start or head start? The effect of filing for personal bankruptcy on the labor supply," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Lin, Chung-cheng & Yang, C.C., 2006. "Fine enough or don't fine at all," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 195-213, February.
    8. Nofsinger, John R., 2012. "Household behavior and boom/bust cycles," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 161-173.
    9. Song Han & Wenli Li, 2007. "Fresh Start or Head Start? The Effects of Filing for Personal Bankruptcy on Work Effort," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 123-152, June.
    10. Michelle J. White, 2005. "Economic Analysis of Corporate and Personal Bankruptcy Law," NBER Working Papers 11536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Lars Lefgren & Frank McIntyre, 2009. "Explaining the Puzzle of Cross-State Differences in Bankruptcy Rates," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 367-393, May.
    12. Thomas A. Garrett, 2007. "The rise in personal bankruptcies: the Eighth Federal Reserve District and beyond," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 15-38.
    13. Stefan BUEHLER & Christian KAISER & Franz JAEGER, "undated". "On the Geographic and Cultural Determinants of Bankruptcy," Regional and Urban Modeling 284100011, EcoMod.
    14. Agarwal, Sumit & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Liu, Chunlin, 2011. "Consumer bankruptcy and default: The role of individual social capital," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 632-650, August.
    15. Luzzetti, Matthew N. & Neumuller, Seth, 2016. "Learning and the dynamics of consumer unsecured debt and bankruptcies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 22-39.
    16. 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.
    17. Wenli Li & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2002. "The macroeconomics of U.S. consumer bankruptcy choice : chapter 7 or chapter 13?," Working Paper 02-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    18. Li, Wenli & Sarte, Pierre-Daniel, 2006. "U.S. consumer bankruptcy choice: The importance of general equilibrium effects," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 613-631, April.
    19. Hansen, Mary Eschelbach & Hansen, Bradley A., 2012. "Crisis and Bankruptcy: The Mediating Role of State Law, 1920–1932," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 72(02), pages 448-468, June.
    20. Chintal Desai & Gregory Elliehausen & Jevgenijs Steinbuks, 2013. "Effects of Bankruptcy Exemptions and Foreclosure Laws on Mortgage Default and Foreclosure Rates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 391-415, October.

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