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Optimal Bankruptcy Code: A Fresh Start for Some

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  • Grey Gordon

    (Indiana University)

Abstract

What is the optimal consumer bankruptcy law? I answer this question using an incomplete markets life-cycle model with a planner who can choose state-contingent bankruptcy costs. I develop two main theoretical characterizations. First, whenever debt discharge is allowed, it should occur without cost. Second, bankruptcy should always be allowed for highly-indebted households. Quantitatively, the optimal policy can generate a welfare gain as large as 11.6%. However, attractive informal default, asymmetric information, and moral hazard can reduce the welfare gain to as little as 0.7%.
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Suggested Citation

  • Grey Gordon, 2014. "Optimal Bankruptcy Code: A Fresh Start for Some," CAEPR Working Papers 2014-002, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Department of Economics, Indiana University Bloomington.
  • Handle: RePEc:inu:caeprp:2014002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Montebruno, Piero & Silva, Olmo & Szumilo, Nikodem, 2021. "Judge Dread: court severity, repossession risk and demand in mortgage and housing markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 114435, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Igor Livshits, 2015. "Recent Developments In Consumer Credit And Default Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 594-613, September.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law

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