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Households Debt Restructuring: Evidence from the French Experience

  • Fraisse, H.
  • Frouté, P.

France has a long and unique experience of public intervention in household debt restructuring. When facing financial distress, households can file a case to a “households’ over-indebtedness commission” (HOC). These HOCs either grant a delay of payment or impose a partial reimbursement of the secured or unsecured debt. This paper evaluates the ex post impact of this decision on the creditors’ recovery rate, the household’s re-default rate and the net benefit of the treatment, defined as the amount recovered by the creditors minus the public cost of treatment of the file. The random allocation of the households over file managers with different pro-household friendlinesses is used to correct for endogeneity. Sixty percent of households are ordered to repay part of their debt. Over a two-year horizon, the possibility to grant a delay of payment decreases the average redefault rate and the average repayment rate respectively from 13 to 7 percentage points and from 14 to 12 percentage points. The net benefit over a small fraction of low distressed households offsets the loss observed over a large fraction of more distressed households. Our results highlight a substantial impact of the severity of the case manager.

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Paper provided by Banque de France in its series Working papers with number 404.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bfr:banfra:404
Contact details of provider: Postal: Banque de France 31 Rue Croix des Petits Champs LABOLOG - 49-1404 75049 PARIS
Web page: http://www.banque-france.fr/

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  1. Manuel Adelino & Kristopher Gerardi & Paul S. Willen, 2009. "Why don't lenders renegotiate more home mortgages? redefaults, self-cures, and securitization," FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 2009-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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  6. James Orr & John Sporn & Joseph Tracy & Junfeng Huang, 2011. "Help for unemployed borrowers: lessons from the Pennsylvania Homeowners’ Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 17(Apr).
  7. Song Han & Geng Li, 2009. "Household borrowing after personal bankruptcy," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Régis Blazy & Bertrand Chopard & Eric Langlais & Ydriss Ziane, 2013. "Personal Bankruptcy Law, Fresh Starts, and Judicial Practice," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 169(4), pages 680-702, December.
  9. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is taking the Con out of Econometrics," CEP Discussion Papers dp0976, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. William Greene, 2001. "Estimating Econometric Models With Fixed Effects," Working Papers 01-10, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
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  12. Anne Muller & Henri Fraisse, 2011. "Les commissions de surendettement des ménages : de l’objectif de négociation à la prévention de la rechute," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 443(1), pages 3-27.
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