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Unpublished Paper
Debt, Financial Distress, and Bankruptcy over the Life Course
  • Allison L Mann, Columbia University
  • Ronald J. Mann, Columbia University
This paper examines how the risks of debt, financial distress, and bankruptcy shift over the life course. Comparing parallel data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project, we analyze use of the bankruptcy process as a product of the distribution of unplanned events, the ability of households to use credit markets to limit the adverse effects of such events, and barriers in access to the bankruptcy system. Our findings suggest two things. One, bankrupt households generally come from the bottom quartiles of the population in assets and income and the top quartile in debt, but the filing patterns vary substantially by age and race. Two, households neither explain their bankruptcies in the same ways nor use the same strategies to avert bankruptcy. The comparative explanations reveal age- and race-based variations that are consistent with disparate access to markets and institutions. The paper relates the findings to the increase in recent decades in the incidence of finan- cial distress and bankruptcy among the elderly.
  • financial distress,
  • consumer bankruptcy,
  • life course,
  • scf,
  • cbp
Publication Date
Citation Information
Allison L Mann and Ronald J. Mann. "Debt, Financial Distress, and Bankruptcy over the Life Course" (2011)
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