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Jel Classification:K35 

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

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
Assessing bankruptcy reform in a model with temptation and equilibrium default

A life-cycle model with equilibrium default in which consumers with and without temptation coexist is constructed to evaluate the 2005 bankruptcy law reform and other counterfactual reforms. The calibrated model indicates that the 2005 bankruptcy reform achieves its goal of reducing the number of bankruptcy filings, as seen in the data, but at the cost of loss in social welfare. The creditor-friendly reform provides borrowers with a stronger commitment to repay and thus yields lower default premia and better consumption smoothing. However, those who borrow and default due to temptation or ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-12

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 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

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
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
Consumer Credit with Over-Optimistic Borrowers

Do cognitive biases call for regulation to limit the use of credit? We incorporate over-optimistic and rational borrowers into an incomplete markets model with consumer bankruptcy. Over-optimists face worse income risk but incorrectly believe they are rational. Thus, both types behave identically. Lenders price loans forming beliefs—type scores—about borrower types. This gives rise to a tractable theory of type scoring. As lenders cannot screen types, borrowers are partially pooled. Over-optimists face cross subsidized interest rates but make financial mistakes: borrowing too much and ...
Working Papers , Paper 21-42

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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