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Jel Classification:K35 

Report
Auto credit and the 2005 bankruptcy reform: the impact of eliminating cramdowns

Auto lenders were perhaps the biggest winners of the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform. Cars depreciate quickly, so borrowers often owe more than their car is worth. Prior to the Reform, these borrowers could reduce the principal on their auto loan to the market value of the car through a ?cramdown? in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The Reform prohibited cramdowns during the first two and a half years of an auto loan. This paper is the first to estimate the causal effect of this anticramdown provision on the price and quantity of auto credit. The authors use a novel empirical strategy that relies on the fact ...
Staff Reports , Paper 797

Report
Insolvency after the 2005 bankruptcy reform

Using a comprehensive panel dataset on U.S. households, we study the effects of the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), the most substantive reform of personal bankruptcy in the United States since the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. The 2005 legislation introduced a means test based on income to establish eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and increased the administrative requirements to file, leading to a rise in the opportunity cost and, especially, the financial cost of filing for bankruptcy. We study the effects of the reform on bankruptcy, insolvency, ...
Staff Reports , Paper 725

Report
An anatomy of U.S. personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13

We build a structural model of Chapter 13 bankruptcy that captures salient features of personal bankruptcy under Chapter 13. We estimate our model using a novel data set that we construct from bankruptcy court dockets recorded in Delaware in 2001 and 2002. Our estimation results highlight the importance of debtor?s choice of repayment plan length for Chapter 13 outcomes under the restrictions imposed by the bankruptcy law. We use the estimated model to conduct policy experiments to evaluate the impact of more stringent provisions of Chapter 13 that impose additional restrictions on the length ...
Staff Reports , Paper 764

Working Paper
Labor market upheaval, default regulations, and consumer debt

In 2005, bankruptcy laws were reformed significantly, making personal bankruptcy substantially more costly to file than before. Shortly after, the US began to experience its most severe recession in seventy years. While personal bankruptcy rates rose, they rose only modestly given the severity of the rise in unemployment, perhaps as a consequence of the reform. Moreover, in the subsequent recovery, households have been widely viewed as ?develeraging? (Mian and Sufi (2011), Krugman and Eggertson (2012)), an interpretation consistent with the largest reduction in the volume of unsecured debt in ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-2

Working Paper
Does the Relative Income of Peers Cause Financial Distress? Evidence from Lottery Winners and Neighboring Bankruptcies

SUPERSEDED BY WP 18-22 We examine whether relative income differences among peers can generate financial distress. Using lottery winnings as plausibly exogenous variations in the relative income of peers, we find that the dollar magnitude of a lottery win of one neighbor increases subsequent borrowing and bankruptcies among other neighbors. We also examine which factors may mitigate lenders? bankruptcy risk in these neighborhoods. We show that bankruptcy filers can obtain secured but not unsecured debt, and lenders provide secured credit to low-risk but not high-risk debtors. In addition, we ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-16

Working Paper
A tale of two commitments: equilibrium default and temptation

I construct the life-cycle model with equilibrium default and preferences featuring temptation and self-control. The model provides quantitatively similar answers to positive questions such as the causes of the observed rise in debt and bankruptcies and macroeconomic implications of the 2005 bankruptcy reform, as the standard model without temptation. However, the temptation model provides contrasting welfare implications, because of overborrowing when the borrowing constraint is relaxed. Specifically, the 2005 bankruptcy reform has an overall negative welfare effect, according to the ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-1

Working Paper
Peers’ Income and Financial Distress: Evidence from Lottery Winners and Neighboring Bankruptcies

SUPRSEDES WP 18-16 We examine whether relative income differences among peers can generate financial distress. Using lottery winnings as plausibly exogenous variations in the relative income of peers, we find that the dollar magnitude of a lottery win of one neighbor increases subsequent borrowing and bankruptcies among other neighbors. We also examine which factors may mitigate lenders? bankruptcy risk in these neighborhoods. We show that bankruptcy filers obtain more secured but not unsecured debt, and lenders provide additional credit to low-risk but not high-risk debtors. In addition, we ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-22

Working Paper
Does inequality cause financial distress? Evidence from lottery winners and neighboring bankruptcies

Revised Oct 2016. We test the hypothesis that income inequality causes financial distress. To identify the effect of income inequality, we examine lottery prizes of random dollar magnitudes in the context of very small neighborhoods (13 households on average). We find that a C$1,000 increase in the lottery prize causes a 2.4% rise in subsequent bankruptcies among the winners? close neighbors. We also provide evidence of conspicuous consumption as a mechanism for this causal relationship. The size of lottery prizes increases the value of visible assets (houses, cars, motorcycles), but not ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-4

Working Paper
Credit, Bankruptcy, and Aggregate Fluctuations

We document the cyclical properties of unsecured consumer credit (procyclical and volatile) and of consumer bankruptcies (countercyclical and very volatile). Using a growth model with household heterogeneity in earnings and assets with access to unsecured credit (because of bankruptcy costs) and aggregate shocks, we show that the cyclical behavior of household earnings growth accounts for these properties, albeit not for the large volatility of credit. We ?nd that tilting household consumption towards goods that can be purchased on credit and a slight countercyclicality in the terms of access ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-48

Working Paper
Debt Collection Agencies and the Supply of Consumer Credit

This paper finds that stricter laws regulating third-party debt collection reduce the number of third-party debt collectors, lower the recovery rates on delinquent credit card loans, and lead to a modest decrease in the openings of new revolving lines of credit. Further, stricter third-party debt collection laws are associated with fewer consumer lawsuits against third-party debt collectors but not with a reduction in the overall number of consumer complaints. Overall, stricter third-party debt collection laws appear to restrict access to new revolving credit but have an ambiguous effect on ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-06

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