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Keywords:regulation of credit markets 

Working Paper
The Economics of Debt Collection: Enforcement of Consumer Credit Contracts

Creditors often outsource the task of obtaining repayment from defaulting borrowers to third-party debt collectors. We argue that by hiring third-party debt collectors, creditors can avoid competing in terms of their debt collection practices. This explanation fits several empirical facts about third-party debt collection and is consistent with the evidence that third-party debt collectors use harsher debt collection practices than original creditors. Our model shows that the impact of third-party debt collectors on consumer welfare depends on the riskiness of the pool of borrowers and ...
Working Papers , Paper 18-4

Working Paper
The economics of debt collection: enforcement of consumer credit contracts

Superceded by WP 18-04 In the U.S., creditors often outsource the task of obtaining repayment from defaulting borrowers to third-party debt collection agencies. This paper argues that an important incentive for this is creditors' concerns about their reputations. Using a model along the lines of the common agency framework, we show that, under certain conditions, debt collection agencies use harsher debt collection practices than original creditors would use on their own. This appears to be consistent with empirical evidence. The model also fits several other empirical facts about the ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-43

Working Paper
The economics of debt collection: enforcement of consumer credit contracts

In the U.S., third-party debt collection agencies employ more than 140,000 people and recover more than $50 billion each year, mostly from consumers. Informational, legal, and other factors suggest that original creditors should have an advantage in collecting debts owed to them. Then, why does the debt collection industry exist and why is it so large? Explanations based on economies of scale or specialization cannot address many of the observed stylized facts. The authors develop an application of common agency theory that better explains those facts. The model explains how reliance on an ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-7

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