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Consumer Durables and Risky Borrowing: the Effects of Bankruptcy Protection

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  • Marina Pavan

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

This paper estimates a dynamic model of durable and non-durable consumption choice and default behavior in an economy where risky borrowing is allowed and bankruptcy protection is regulated by law. I exploit the substantial difference in the generosity of bankruptcy exemptions across the U.S. states to assess the role of durable goods as both informal collateral for unsecured debt and self-insurance against bad shocks to earnings. The model accounts for the equilibrium effects of bankruptcy protection on both consumer saving behavior and the credit market. In addition to providing reasonable estimates of the discount rate and risk aversion, I find that the generosity of bankruptcy protection does change both the incentives and the ability of households to accumulate durable wealth. The more generous the bankruptcy regulation, the lower the net durable wealth held by households in the first half of the lifecycle before retirement. In order to minimize the default rate bankruptcy protection should be removed. The optimal level of exemption is positive but low.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Pavan, 2003. "Consumer Durables and Risky Borrowing: the Effects of Bankruptcy Protection," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 573, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 May 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:573
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mankart, Jochen, 2014. "The (Un-) importance of Chapter 7 wealth exemption levels," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-16.
    2. Kurt Mitman, 2016. "Macroeconomic Effects of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(8), pages 2219-2255, August.
    3. Thomas Hintermaier & Winfried Koeniger, 2016. "Debt Portfolios and Homestead Exemptions," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 103-141, October.
    4. Smith, Anthony Jr. & Wang, Cheng, 2006. "Dynamic credit relationships in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 847-877, May.
    5. repec:red:issued:14-216 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Charles Grant & Winfried Koeniger, 2009. "Redistributive Taxation and Personal Bankruptcy in U.S. States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(3), pages 445-467, August.
    7. Kartik Athreya & Ahmet Akyol, 2007. "Unsecured Credit and Self-Employment," 2007 Meeting Papers 49, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2010. "How Much Does Household Collateral Constrain Regional Risk Sharing?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 265-294, April.
    9. Benjamin J. Keys, 2010. "The credit market consequences of job displacement," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Mankart, Jochen & Rodano, Giacomo, 2015. "Personal bankruptcy law, debt portfolios, and entrepreneurship," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 157-172.
    11. Mankart, Jochen & Rodano, Giacomo, 2012. "Bankruptcy Law, Debt Portfolios, and Entrepreneurship," Economics Working Paper Series 1216, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    12. Kartik B. Athreya, 2005. "Equilibrium models of personal bankruptcy : a survey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 73-98.
    13. Florian Oswald & Costas Meghir & Wenli Li, 2017. "Consumer Bankruptcy and Mortgage Default," 2017 Meeting Papers 1260, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Theresa Kuchler & Johannes Stroebel, 2009. "Foreclosure and Bankruptcy--Policy Conclusions from the Current Crisis," Discussion Papers 08-037, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    15. 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.
    16. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michèle Tertilt, 2007. "Consumer Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 402-418, March.
    17. Xavier Mateos-Planas & David Benjamin, 2012. "Formal vs. Informal Default in Consumer Credit," 2012 Meeting Papers 144, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    18. Igor Livshits, 2015. "Recent Developments In Consumer Credit And Default Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 594-613, September.
    19. Athreya, Kartik, 2006. "Fresh start or head start? Uniform bankruptcy exemptions and welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2051-2079, November.
    20. Winfried Koeniger & Thomas Hintermaier, 2009. "Bankruptcy and Debt Portfolios," 2009 Meeting Papers 348, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    21. Grey Gordon & Pablo Guerron-Quintana, 2018. "Dynamics of Investment, Debt, and Default," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 28, pages 71-95, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    durable goods; saving; personal bankruptcy; structural estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • 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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