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Personal Bankruptcy and Wage Garnishment

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Abstract

Contrary to Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S., many European bankruptcy regimes are stricter and force bankrupts to repay some outstanding debt through wage garnishment. Since wage garnishment raises the efective marginal tax rate, it distorts labor supply. Explicitly modeling the garnishment period and endogenizing labor supply, this paper examines the optimal garnishment regime for Germany: optimal garnishment rates are 18 percentage points lower and the garnishment du-ration increases from six to ten years. Consequently, repayment during bankruptcy increases and interest rates fall. Welfare improves by 3.3%. Low-income households gain the most due to better access to cheaper credit.

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  • Florian Exler, 2019. "Personal Bankruptcy and Wage Garnishment," Vienna Economics Papers 1908, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:1908
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    1. Daphne Chen & Jake Zhao, 2017. "The Impact of Personal Bankruptcy on Labor Supply Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 40-61, October.
    2. Karen Kopecky & Richard Suen, 2010. "Finite State Markov-chain Approximations to Highly Persistent Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(3), pages 701-714, July.
    3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
    4. Hans A. Holter & Dirk Krueger & Serhiy Stepanchuk, 2019. "How do tax progressivity and household heterogeneity affect Laffer curves?," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 10(4), pages 1317-1356, November.
    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. Song Han & Wenli Li, 2007. "Fresh Start or Head Start? The Effects of Filing for Personal Bankruptcy on Work Effort," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 31(2), pages 123-152, June.
    7. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Gordon, Grey, 2012. "Dealing with consumer default: Bankruptcy vs garnishment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(S), pages 1-16.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law

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