IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedpwp/10-16.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Did bankruptcy reform cause mortgage default rates to rise?

Author

Listed:
  • Wenli Li
  • Michelle J. White
  • Ning S. Zhu

Abstract

This paper argues that the U.S. bankruptcy reform of 2005 played an important role in the mortgage crisis and the current recession. When debtors file for bankruptcy, credit card debt and other types of debt are discharged - thus loosening debtors' budget constraints. Homeowners in financial distress can therefore use bankruptcy to avoid losing their homes, since filing allows them to shift funds from paying other debts to paying their mortgages. But a major reform of U.S. bankruptcy law in 2005 raised the cost of filing and reduced the amount of debt that is discharged. The authors argue that an unintended consequence of the reform was to cause mortgage default rates to rise. Using a large dataset of individual mortgages, they estimate a hazard model to test whether the 2005 bankruptcy reform caused mortgage default rates to rise. Their major result is that prime and subprime mortgage default rates rose by 14 percent and 16 percent, respectively, after bankruptcy reform. The authors also use difference-in-difference to examine the effects of three provisions of bankruptcy reform that particularly harmed homeowners with high incomes and/or high assets and find that the default rates of affected homeowners rose even more. Overall, they calculate that bankruptcy reform caused the number of mortgage defaults to increase by around 200,000 per year even before the start of the financial crisis, suggesting that the reform increased the severity of the crisis when it came.

Suggested Citation

  • Wenli Li & Michelle J. White & Ning S. Zhu, 2010. "Did bankruptcy reform cause mortgage default rates to rise?," Working Papers 10-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:10-16
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.philadelphiafed.org/research-and-data/publications/working-papers/2010/wp10-16.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michael Dotsey & Robert G. King & Alexander L. Wolman, 1999. "State-Dependent Pricing and the General Equilibrium Dynamics of Money and Output," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 655-690.
    2. Nir Jaimovich & Henry E. Siu, 2009. "The Young, the Old, and the Restless: Demographics and Business Cycle Volatility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 804-826.
    3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules and Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence and Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180.
    4. Kenneth L. Judd, 1998. "Numerical Methods in Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262100711, January.
    5. Thomas A. Lubik & Frank Schorfheide, 2004. "Testing for Indeterminacy: An Application to U.S. Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 190-217, March.
    6. Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2006. "The Dynamic Effects of Neutral and Investment-Specific Technology Shocks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(3), pages 413-451, June.
    7. Hall, Robert E, 1997. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and the Allocation of Time," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 223-250, January.
    8. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226520018 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, August.
    10. Alejandro Justiniano & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2008. "The Time-Varying Volatility of Macroeconomic Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 604-641.
    11. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1991. "A contribution to the pure theory of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 215-235, April.
    12. Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro & Wright, Randall, 1989. "On Money as a Medium of Exchange," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 927-954, August.
    13. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    14. Christopher A. Sims & Tao Zha, 2006. "Were There Regime Switches in U.S. Monetary Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 54-81, March.
    15. Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe & Martin Uribe, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy in a Medium-Scale Macroeconomic Model: Expanded Version," NBER Working Papers 11417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & Juan F. Rubio-Ramírez, 2008. "How Structural Are Structural Parameters?," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 83-137 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2004. "Choosing the Federal Reserve Chair: Lessons from History," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 129-162, Winter.
    18. Aruoba, S. Boragan & Fernandez-Villaverde, Jesus & Rubio-Ramirez, Juan F., 2006. "Comparing solution methods for dynamic equilibrium economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2477-2508, December.
    19. Burton A. Abrams, 2006. "How Richard Nixon Pressured Arthur Burns: Evidence from the Nixon Tapes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 177-188, Fall.
    20. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226519944 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Hetzel,Robert L., 2008. "The Monetary Policy of the Federal Reserve," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521881326, March.
    22. anonymous, 1989. "Money stock data revised," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jul, pages 508-512.
    23. Robert Wright, 2009. "Inside the Fed: monetary policy and its management, Martin through Greenspan to Bernanke," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(5), pages 797-799.
    24. Athanasios Orphanides, 2002. "Monetary-Policy Rules and the Great Inflation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 115-120, May.
    25. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, September.
    26. Martin Uribe & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohe, 2005. "Optimal Fiscal and Monetary Policy In A Medium Scale Macro Model," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 476, Society for Computational Economics.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Kurt Mitman, 2016. "Macroeconomic Effects of Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(8), pages 2219-2255, August.
    2. Michelle White & Wenli Li, 2011. "Residential Mortgage Default and Consumer Bankruptcy: Theory and Empirical Evidence," 2011 Meeting Papers 1038, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. John Y. Campbell, 2013. "Mortgage Market Design," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 17(1), pages 1-33.
    4. Kartik Athreya, 2012. "A Model of Credit Card Delinquency," 2012 Meeting Papers 981, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bankruptcy ; Law and legislation ; Foreclosure ; Default (Finance) ; Mortgage loans ; Global financial crisis;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:10-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Beth Paul). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbphus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.