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The credit market consequences of job displacement

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  • Benjamin J. Keys

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the important role of job displacement in the household bankruptcy decision. I develop a dynamic, forward-looking model of unemployment and bankruptcy where persistent negative income shocks increase a household's likelihood of filing for bankruptcy both immediately and in the future. Consistent with the model's predictions, I find that households in the NLSY are 2.5 times more likely to file for bankruptcy in the year immediately following a job loss, at a rate of an additional 10 bankruptcies per 1000 job losses. Heightened bankruptcy risk then declines in magnitude but persists for two to three years. Aggregate patterns in job loss and bankruptcy are also consistent with the micro model. Using county-level data, I similarly find that 1000 job losses are associated with 8 to 11 bankruptcies and that the effects also last two to three years. In addition, the loss of a manufacturing job, a proxy for a more persistent separation, is three times more likely to lead to bankruptcy than the loss of a non-manufacturing job. The results suggest that even relatively brief unemployment spells can have significant long-term consequences on households' credit market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2010-24
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    Cited by:

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    3. Sean Hundtofte & Arna Olafsson & Michaela Pagel, 2019. "Credit Smoothing," NBER Working Papers 26354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Bauchet & David Evans, 2019. "Personal Bankruptcy Determinants Among U.S. Households During the Peak of the Great Recession," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 577-591, December.
    5. Jonathan Fisher & Nathaniel Johnson, 2019. "The Two-Income Trap: Are Two-Earner Households More Financially Vulnerable?," Working Papers 19-19, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    6. J. Carter Braxton & Gordon Phillips & Kyle Herkenhoff, 2018. "Can the Unemployed Borrow? Implications for Public Insurance," 2018 Meeting Papers 564, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Tal Gross & Raymond Kluender & Feng Liu & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Jialan Wang, 2019. "The Economic Consequences of Bankruptcy Reform," NBER Working Papers 26254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Pattison, Nathaniel, 2020. "Consumption smoothing and debtor protections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 192(C).

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    Keywords

    Bankruptcy; Unemployment;

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