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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
Do student loan borrowers opportunistically default? Evidence from bankruptcy reform

Bankruptcy reform in 2005 eliminated debtors? ability to discharge private student loan debt in bankruptcy. This law aimed to reduce costly defaults by diminishing the perceived incentive of some private student loan borrowers to declare bankruptcy even if they had sufficient income to service their debt. Using a unique, nationally representative sample of anonymized credit bureau files, we examine the bankruptcy filing and delinquency rates of private student loan borrowers in response to the 2005 bankruptcy reform. We do not find evidence that the nondischargeability provision reduced the ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-17

Working Paper
Who is screened out of social insurance programs by entry barriers? Evidence from consumer bankruptcies

Entry barriers into social insurance programs will be effective screening devices if they cause only those individuals receiving higher benefits from a program to participate in that program. We find evidence for this by using plausibly exogenous variations in travel-related entry costs into the Canadian consumer bankruptcy system. Using detailed balance sheet and travel data, we find that higher travel-related entry costs reduce bankruptcies from individuals with lower financial benefits of bankruptcy (unsecured debt discharged, minus secured assets forgone). When compared across filers, ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-40

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
Assessing Bankruptcy Reform in a Model with Temptation and Equilibrium Default

A life-cycle model with equilibrium default in which agents with and without temptation coexist is constructed to evaluate the 2005 bankruptcy law reform. The calibrated model indicates that the 2005 reform reduces bankruptcies, as seen in the data, and improves welfare, as lower default premia allows better consumption smoothing. A counterfactual reform of changing income garnishment rate is also investigated. Interesting contrasting welfare effects between two types of agents emerge. Agents with temptation prefer a lower garnishment rate as tighter borrowing constraint prevents them from ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-21

Working Paper
Spatial Commitment Devices and Addictive Goods: Evidence from the Removal of Slot Machines from Bars

Commitment device theory suggests that temptations to consume addictive goods could be reduced by the regulatory removal of geographically close environmental cues. We provide new evidence on this hypothesis using a quasi-natural experiment, in which gambling regulators removed slot machines from some, but not all, neighborhood bars. We find that the removal of slot machines reduced personal bankruptcies of close neighbors (within 100 meters) but not neighbors slightly farther away. This is consistent with the removal of neighborhood slots serving as an effective spatial commitment device, ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-34

Working Paper
Strategic Default Among Private Student Loan Debtors: Evidence from Bankruptcy Reform

Bankruptcy reform in 2005 restricted debtors? ability to discharge private student loan debt. The reform was motivated by the perceived incentive of some borrowers to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 even if they had, or expected to have, sufficient income to service their debt. Using a national sample of credit bureau files, we examine whether private student loan borrowers distinctly adjusted their Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing behavior in response to the reform. We do not find evidence to indicate that the moral hazard associated with dischargeability appreciably affected the behavior of ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-38

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