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The Bankruptcy Decision: Does Stigma Matter?


  • Fay, S.
  • Hurst, E.
  • White, M.J.


In this paper, we model and estimate the effects of both bankruptcy stigma and financial benefit on household's decisions to file for bankruptcy. We show that the probability of debtors ling for bankruptcy rises when the level of bankruptcy stigma falls. We also show that the level of bankruptcy stigma has external effects , so that individual households are better off if their own bankruptcy stigma level is lower than that in the same credit pool.

Suggested Citation

  • Fay, S. & Hurst, E. & White, M.J., 1998. "The Bankruptcy Decision: Does Stigma Matter?," Papers 98-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:michet:98-01

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Marianna Kudlyak & John Mondragon & Olivier Coibion, 2014. "Does Greater Inequality Lead to More Household Borrowing? New Evidence from Household Data," 2014 Meeting Papers 402, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Mamie Marcuss, 2004. "A look at household bankruptcies," Communities and Banking, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Spr, pages 15-20.
    3. Athreya, Kartik & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2009. "Unsecured credit markets are not insurance markets," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-103, January.
    4. Erik Hurst & Ming Ching Luoh & Frank P. Stafford, 1998. "The Wealth Dynamics of American Families, 1984-94," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 267-338.
    5. Kartik Athreya & Xuan S. Tam & Eric R. Young, 2012. "A Quantitative Theory of Information and Unsecured Credit," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 153-183, July.
    6. David Andolfatto, 2002. "A Theory of Inalienable Property Rights," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 382-393, April.
    7. Andreas Lehnert & Dean M. Maki, 2002. "Consumption, debt and portfolio choice: testing the effect of bankruptcy law," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Wendy Edelberg, 2004. "Testing for adverse selection and moral hazard in consumer loan markets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-09, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Athreya, Kartik B. & Tam, Xuan S. & Young, Eric R., 2014. "Loan Guarantees for Consumer Credit Markets," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 4Q, pages 297-352.
    12. Ronel Elul & Narayanan Subramanian, 2002. "Forum-Shopping and Personal Bankruptcy," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 21(3), pages 233-255, June.
    13. Li, Xiaofeng & Shang, Ying & Su, Zhi, 2015. "Semiparametric estimation of default probability: Evidence from the Prosper online credit market," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 54-57.
    14. Kartik Athreya, 2012. "A Model of Credit Card Delinquency," 2012 Meeting Papers 981, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item



    JEL classification:

    • G30 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - General
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation


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