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Bankruptcy and delinquency in a model of unsecured debt

  • Athreya, Kartik

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond)

  • Sánchez, Juan M.

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

  • Tam, Xuan S.

    ()

    (City University of Hong Kong)

  • Young, Eric R.

    ()

    (University of Virginia)

This paper documents and interprets two facts central to the dynamics of informal default or “delinquency” on unsecured consumer debt. First, delinquency does not mean a persistent cessation of payment. In particular, we observe that for individuals 60 to 90 days late on payments, 85% make payments during the next quarter that allow them to avoid entering more severe delinquency. Second, many in delinquency (40%) have smaller debt obligations one quarter later. To understand these facts, we develop a theoretically and institutionally plausible model of debt delinquency and bankruptcy. Our model reproduces the dynamics of delinquency and suggests an interpretation of the data in which lenders frequently (in roughly 40% of cases) reset the terms for delinquent borrowers, typically involving partial debt forgiveness, rather than a blanket imposition of the “penalty rates” most unsecured credit contracts specify.

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File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2012/2012-042.pdf
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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2012-042.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision: 30 Jan 2014
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-042
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  1. Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo, 2009. "Long-duration bonds and sovereign defaults," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 117-125, September.
  2. Julio Davila & Jay H. Hong & Per Krusell & José-Victor Rios Rull, 2005. "Constrained efficiency in the neoclassical growth model with uninsurable idiosyncratic shocks," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00196183, HAL.
  3. Carlos Hatchondo, Juan & Martinez, Leonardo & Sánchez, Juan M., 2015. "Mortgage defaults," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 173-190.
    • Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Juan M. Sanchez, 2015. "Mortgage Defaults," Caepr Working Papers 2015-011 Classification-D, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    • Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo & Sánchez, Juan M., 2011. "Mortgage defaults," Working Papers 2011-019, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 31 Jul 2015.
    • Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Juan M. Sanchez, 2011. "Mortgage defaults," Working Paper 11-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    • Leonardo Martinez & Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Juan M. Sanchez, 2012. "Mortgage Defaults," IMF Working Papers 12/26, International Monetary Fund.
  4. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2011. "Maturity, indebtedness, and default risk," Working Papers 11-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Kartik B. Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2009. "Are harsh penalties for default really better?," Working Paper 09-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  6. Ulf von Lilienfeld-Toal & Dilip Mookherjee, 2010. "The Political Economy of Debt Bondage," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 44-84, August.
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