IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The optimal Chapter 7 exemption level in a life-cycle model with asset portfolios

  • Mankart, Jochen

I develop a heterogenous agent life-cycle model that examines the effects of the US personal bankruptcy law on bankruptcy filings and welfare. In addition to facing uncertainty over their labor income, agents also face wealth shocks that stem from unexpected changes in family composition or from unexpected medical expenses. I allow agents to borrow and save simultaneously. Some households borrow at high interest rates while simultaneously saving at low interest rate because of the option value of defaulting. This is consistent data on household assets. Under chapter 7 of the US bankruptcy law, consumers can keep all wealth up to an exemption level. I show that introducing exemption levels is of particular importance in the presence of wealth shocks. My quantitative evaluations show that changes in the exemption level have an impact only for very low exemption levels. Thus, ignoring them biases welfare results. But this impact fades out rather quickly. The reason is that almost no household is affected by medium to high exemption levels because those households who might default do not have much wealth. The welfare results of changes in the exemption level are rather small, less than 0.1% of annual consumption. In contrast to the earlier literature, but consistent with the data, I do not find a strong positive relationship between the exemption level and default rates.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis with number 48703.

in new window

Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48703
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Igor Livshits & James MacGee & Michele Tertilt, 2003. "Consumer bankruptcy: a fresh start," Working Papers 617, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Athreya, Kartik, 2006. "Fresh start or head start? Uniform bankruptcy exemptions and welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2051-2079, November.
  3. Mateos-Planas, Xavier & Seccia, Giulio, 2006. "Welfare implications of endogenous credit limits with bankruptcy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(11), pages 2081-2115, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Pradeep Dubey & John Geanakoplos & Martin Shubik, 2001. "Default and Punishment in General Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1304, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, August.
  7. Athreya, Kartik B., 2008. "Default, insurance, and debt over the life-cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 752-774, May.
  8. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Christopher I. & Yaron, Amir, 2004. "Consumption and risk sharing over the life cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 609-633, April.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc11:48703. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.