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Household borrowing after personal bankruptcy

  • Song Han
  • Geng Li
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A large literature has examined factors leading to filing for personal bankruptcy, but little is known about household borrowing after bankruptcy. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, we find that relative to comparable nonfilers, bankruptcy filers generally have more limited access to unsecured credit but borrow more secured debt post bankruptcy, and they pay higher interest rates on all types of debt. We also find that credit access and borrowing costs improve as more time passed since filing. However, filers experience renewed debt payment difficulties and accumulate less wealth, even many years after filing, suggesting that for many bankrupt households, debt discharges fail to generate an effective fresh start as intended by the law. Our estimate also provides empirical guidance for calibrating the equilibrium models of household credit.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2009-17.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2009-17
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  1. David B. Gross, 2002. "An Empirical Analysis of Personal Bankruptcy and Delinquency," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 15(1), pages 319-347, March.
  2. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Centro de Alti­simos Estudios Ri­os Pe©rez(CAERP) 2, Centro de Altisimos Estudios Rios Perez (CAERP).
  3. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2006. "Accounting for the Rise in Consumer Bankruptcies," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20066, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  4. Lin, Emily Y. & White, Michelle J., 2001. "Bankruptcy and the Market for Mortgage and Home Improvement Loans," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 138-162, July.
  5. Larry H. Filer II & Jonathan D. Fisher, 2005. "The Consumption Effects Associated with Filing for Personal Bankruptcy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 837-854, April.
  6. Kartik B. Athreya & Nicole B. Simpson, 2004. "Unsecured debt with public insurance : from bad to worse," Working Paper 03-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  7. Hülya Eraslan & Wenli Li & Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte, 2007. "The anatomy of U.S. personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13," Working Paper 07-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  8. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2000. "A Debt Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 7879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Michelle J. White & Ning Zhu, 2008. "Saving Your Home in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy," NBER Working Papers 14179, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. White, Michelle J, 1998. "Why Don't More Households File for Bankruptcy?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 205-31, October.
  17. Michelle J. White, 2007. "Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards," NBER Working Papers 13265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Kartik B. Athreya, 2005. "Equilibrium models of personal bankruptcy : a survey," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 73-98.
  19. White, M.J., 1998. "Why Don't More Households File for Bankruptcy?," Papers 98-03, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  20. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. David K. Musto, 2004. "What Happens When Information Leaves a Market? Evidence from Postbankruptcy Consumers," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 725-748, October.
  23. Filer, Larry & Fisher, Jonathan D., 2007. "Do liquidity constraints generate excess sensitivity in consumption? New evidence from a sample of post-bankruptcy households," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 790-805, December.
  24. Michelle J. White, 2007. "Bankruptcy Reform and Credit Cards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 175-200, Fall.
  25. Kartik B. Athreya, 2004. "Shame as it ever was : stigma and personal bankruptcy," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 1-19.
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