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Who Invests in Home Equity to Exempt Wealth from Bankruptcy?

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  • Corradin, Stefano
  • Gropp, Reint
  • Huizinga, Harry
  • Laeven, Luc

Abstract

Homestead exemptions to personal bankruptcy allow households to retain their home equity up to a limit determined at the state level. Households that may experience bankruptcy thus have an incentive to bias their portfolios towards home equity. Using US household data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation for the period 1996-2006, we find that especially households with low net worth maintain a larger share of their wealth as home equity if a larger homestead exemption applies. This home equity bias is also more pronounced if the household head is in poor health, increasing the chance of bankruptcy on account of unpaid medical bills. The bias is further stronger for households with mortgage finance, shorter house tenures, and younger household heads, which taken together reflect households that face more financial uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Corradin, Stefano & Gropp, Reint & Huizinga, Harry & Laeven, Luc, 2010. "Who Invests in Home Equity to Exempt Wealth from Bankruptcy?," CEPR Discussion Papers 8097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8097
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley & Shawn Rohlin, 2013. "How Does Bankruptcy Law Impact the Elderly's Business and Housing Decisions?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 417-451.
    2. Eric Helland & Anupam B. Jena & Dan P. Ly & Seth A. Seabury, 2016. "Self-insuring against Liability Risk: Evidence from Physician Home Values in States with Unlimited Homestead Exemptions," NBER Working Papers 22031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    home ownership; homestead exemptions; personal bankruptcy; portfolio allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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