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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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    File URL: https://caepr.indiana.edu/RePEc/inu/caeprp/CAEPR2014-002.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Igor Livshits, 2015. "Recent Developments In Consumer Credit And Default Literature," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 594-613, September.

    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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