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Dealing with consumer default: bankruptcy vs. garnishment

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  • Satyajit Chatterjee
  • Grey Gordon

Abstract

What are the positive and normative implications of eliminating bankruptcy protection for indebted individuals? Without bankruptcy protection, creditors can collect on defaulted debt to the extent permitted by wage garnishment laws. The elimination lowers the default premium on unsecured debt and permits low-net-worth individuals suffering bad earnings shocks to smooth consumption by borrowing. There is a large increase in consumer debt financed essentially by super-wealthy individuals, a modest drop in capital per worker, and a higher frequency of consumer default. Average welfare rises by 1 percent of consumption in perpetuity, with about 90 percent of households favoring the change.

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  • Satyajit Chatterjee & Grey Gordon, 2011. "Dealing with consumer default: bankruptcy vs. garnishment," Working Papers 11-35, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-35
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    Cited by:

    1. Adrien Auclert & Will S. Dobbie & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, 2019. "Macroeconomic Effects of Debt Relief: Consumer Bankruptcy Protections in the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 25685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gordon, Grey, 2017. "Optimal bankruptcy code: A fresh start for some," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 123-149.
    3. Hülya Eraslan & Gizem Koşar & Wenli Li & Pierre‐Daniel Sarte, 2017. "An Anatomy Of U.S. Personal Bankruptcy Under Chapter 13," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 671-702, August.
    4. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2016. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Employment, Earnings and Entrepreneurship," 2016 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Kartik Arthreya & Juan Sanchez & Xuan Tam & Eric Young, 2015. "Labor Market Upheaval, Default Regulation, and Consumer Debt," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(1), pages 32-52, January.
    6. Carlos Hatchondo, Juan & Martinez, Leonardo & Sánchez, Juan M., 2015. "Mortgage defaults," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 173-190.
    7. Exler, Florian & Tertilt, Michèle, 2020. "Consumer Debt and Default: A Macro Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 12966, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Grey Gordon & Pablo Guerron-Quintana, 2018. "On Regional Borrowing, Migration, and Default," 2018 Meeting Papers 305, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Will Dobbie & Jae Song, 2015. "Debt Relief and Debtor Outcomes: Measuring the Effects of Consumer Bankruptcy Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(3), pages 1272-1311, March.
    10. Kartik Athreya & Juan M. Sánchez & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2018. "Bankruptcy And Delinquency In A Model Of Unsecured Debt," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(2), pages 593-623, May.
    11. Satyajit Chatterjee, 2010. "An Equilibrium Model of the Timing of Bankruptcy Filings," 2010 Meeting Papers 1282, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Jason Allen & Kiana Basiri, 2016. "The Impact of Bankruptcy Reform on Insolvency Choice and Consumer Credit," Staff Working Papers 16-26, Bank of Canada.
    13. Will Dobbie & Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham & Crystal S. Yang, 2017. "Consumer Bankruptcy and Financial Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(5), pages 853-869, December.
    14. Igor Livshits, 2015. "Recent Developments In Consumer Credit And Default Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 594-613, September.
    15. Don Schlagenhauf & Carlos Garriga, 2017. "Identifying "Default Thresholds" in Consumer Liabilities Using High Frequency Data," 2017 Meeting Papers 1305, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Gordon, Grey, 2017. "Optimal bankruptcy code: A fresh start for some," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 123-149.
    17. Exler, Florian, 2015. "Personal bankruptcy and wage garnishment," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113219, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Sewon Hur, 2018. "The Lost Generation of the Great Recession," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 179-202, October.
    19. Gomez-Ruano, Gerardo, 2014. "Should Central Banks Take On Credit-Risk?," MPRA Paper 93633, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Nadja König, 2016. "Household Debt and Macrodynamics - How do Income Distribution and Insolvency Regulations interact?," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201603, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.
    21. Bruce I. Carlin & Tarik Umar & Hanyi Yi, 2020. "Deputization," NBER Working Papers 27225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Nadja König, 2016. "Personal Insolvency Dynamics in Germany and the UK -- A SUR-TAR Approach," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 201602, University of Hamburg, Department of Socioeconomics.

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    Keywords

    Default (Finance); Bankruptcy; Consumer credit;

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