Recent BAPCPA-Related Articles of Interest Available for Downloading from SSRN

The following BAPCPA-related papers, arranged by abstract ID number, can be downloaded from the Social Science Research Network:

Univ. Of Florida's Amy K. Yarbrough and Jacksonville State University's Robert J. Landry III: "Navigating the Social Safety Net: A State-level Analysis of the Relationships Between Medicaid, the Uninsured and Consumer Bankruptcy."  (Abstract ID: 932940)

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Univ. of Illinois College of Law's Charles Jordan Tabb: "Consumer Bankruptcy Filings: Trends and Indicators."  (Abstract ID: 931172)

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Federal Reserve Bank's Mark J. Furletti: "Consumer Bankruptcy: How Unsecured Lenders Fare." (Abstract ID: 927088)

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Cardozo Law School's David Gray Carlson: "Cars in Chapter 13 After 2005 Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code." (Abstract ID: 925567)

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University of Pennsylvania's Michael Gene Housman: "Senior Power and the Medicare Trust Fund Crisis." (Abstract ID: 925137)

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University of Wisconsin School of law's Bernard Trujillo: "Regulating Bankruptcy Abuse: An Empirical Study of Consumer Exemption Cases." (Abstract ID: 925016)

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UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law's Melissa B. Jacoby: "Bankruptcy Reform and Homeownership Risk."  (Abstract ID: 918006)

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Abstracts for each of these papers follows:


Amy K. Yarbrough and  Robert J. Landry III, "Navigating the Social Safety Net: A State-level Analysis of the Relationships Between Medicaid, the Uninsured and Consumer Bankruptcy."  (Abstract ID: 932940):

Although the populations served by social programs such as Medicaid and consumer bankruptcy likely overlap, policymakers tend to look at individual programs unilaterally. The result of such an incremental approach to policy reform is a fragmented social safety net system in the United States. This study attempts to empirically validate a relationship between social programs by providing a state-level analysis of the relationships between the generosity of Medicaid enrollment criteria, the richness of Medicaid benefits, and uninsurance with state rates and types of consumer bankruptcy filings. Limited support suggests that Medicaid might serve as a substitute for consumer bankruptcy in some circumstances. Further, results indicate that states' forfeiture of benefit richness for increased enrollment numbers might actually cause financial hardship to consumers, eventually leading to bankruptcy. Policy implications concerning state Medicaid programs are offered for these findings.

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Charles Jordan Tabb, "Consumer Bankruptcy Filings: Trends and Indicators."  (Abstract ID: 931172):

 This paper examines consumer bankruptcy filing rates. It attempts to identify some trends and some economic indicators that might predict those filing rates. While several studies examined these questions prior to the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), there remains considerable uncertainty and debate over what economic factors correlate to consumer bankruptcy. This is the first study that takes into account the impact of BAPCPA, both in anticipation of and in the aftermath of its effective date.

1. Part I lays out the historical filing rate data following the effective date of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. Part II examines the impact of BAPCPA on filing rates, and finds that the dramatic post-BAPCPA drop in filings may be almost over. Soon, consumer bankruptcy filing rates are likely to return to their pre-BAPCPA levels. Part III then analyzes the possible correlation of numerous plausible economic data sets to non-business bankruptcy filing rates. The paper finds several such data sets that correlate to non-business filings to a high level of statistical significance. These economic indicators point to a return to pre-BAPCPA filing levels. However, those indicators also suggest that it is unlikely that consumer filings will increase much over those old levels unless fundamental underlying economic changes occur. The findings in Part III further indicate that if Congress wants to curb consumer bankruptcy filings, it needs to focus on treating root causes - such as the explosion in revolving consumer credit - rather than on symptoms. Thus, BAPCPA may have been misguided

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Mark J. Furletti, "Consumer Bankruptcy: How Unsecured Lenders Fare." (Abstract ID: 927088):

On September 8, 2003, the Payment Cards Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia hosted a workshop on consumer bankruptcy and its effect on unsecured lenders. Professor Melissa Jacoby of Temple University's School of Law led the workshop. A leading bankruptcy scholar, Jacoby described the current bankruptcy system and the potential impact of Chapter 7 reforms on the rights of unsecured creditors. This paper summarizes Jacoby's presentation and the ensuing discussion. It offers a brief overview of consumer bankruptcy and the rights of unsecured creditors that lend money to individuals who ultimately file for bankruptcy. It also discusses the proposed amendments to the bankruptcy code being debated in Congress. Finally, the paper concludes with Jacoby's assessment of how unsecured lenders, such as credit card issuers, would likely be treated in the proposed system.

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David Gray Carlson, "Cars in Chapter 13 After the 2005 Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code." (Abstract ID: 925567):

In 2005, Congress attempted to aid the plight of the secured creditor financing automobiles, especially with regard to chapter 13 cram down. The amendments it offered are peculiar and difficult. This article tries to reconcile all parts of the new amendments by distinguishing adequate protection payments from cram down payments, so that the new rules requiring equal cram down payments (which contain an interest component) and adequate protection payments (which must not contain an interest component) can function in a non-contradictory way. The article also suggests that Congress inadvertently introduced an asset payment rule which permits debtors to put the car to the secured creditor in full payment of the car debt. Technically, this even allows the debtor to keep all insurance proceeds from a wreck while paying the secured creditor in full with the wreck itself - a shocking result not easily avoidable on the statutory language as written.

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Michael Gene Housman, "Senior Power and the Medicare Trust Fund Crisis." (Abstract ID: 925137):

Our system of government is predicated upon the belief that citizens can influence the outcome of political conflicts. Indeed, political participation is necessary for its proper functioning and the voices of these citizens must be equal so that the democratic ideal of equal responsiveness to the preferences and interests of all is not violated. Otherwise, political inequality exists and contradicts our desire for political justice. But what are the different forms of political inequality and how have they influenced our political institutions? While most of the work on political inequality has focused upon the distribution of money and its corresponding effects upon political influence, this paper seeks to explore the influence of another resource that is necessary for political participation: time. It is a disproportionate possession of time that has allowed the elderly to gain the political power that they currently possess and to rally collectively in order to increase the benefits that they receive from the government. Correspondingly, we find ourselves in a precarious situation whereby the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds are rapidly approaching bankruptcy. What does a theory of political justice have to say about this situation and its potential solutions? This topic is explored throughout the paper.

The first part of this paper is devoted to a study of political inequality in its theoretical form by addressing certain definitional issues and identifying its causes. The second portion reveals the political dominance of the elderly and its subsequent effects upon the distribution of government spending and poverty rates in the U.S. The third section reveals how this political power has set the stage for the impending insolvency of the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds. The fourth section seeks to address the question of whether or not this political efficacy indeed constitutes political inequality and then attempts to determine the mechanism by which this inequality has evolved. Finally, the fifth portion returns to a discussion of the insolvency of Medicare and Social Security in an attempt to address potential solutions according to their fulfillment of the principles of political justice and proposes an alternative that does indeed compensate for the political inequality that caused this crisis in the first place.

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Bernard Trujillo, "Regulating Bankruptcy Abuse: An Empirical Study of Consumer Exemption Cases." (Abstract ID: 925016):

This Article presents the results of an empirical study of bankruptcy court doctrine in consumer exemptions proceedings over a twenty-year period. The study shows a pattern in which bankruptcy courts adjudicate property exemptions to decrease the value of the discharge for sophisticated debtors and increase the value of the discharge for unsophisticated debtors. The data show that the presence of sophistication reduces a debtor's chance of success in an exemptions proceeding by as much as 78.9%. This pattern of abuse regulation emerged endogenously, without the prompting of hierarchical, exogenous forces such as Congressional or appellate court directives.

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Melissa B. Jacoby, "Bankruptcy Reform and Homeownership Risk."  (Abstract ID: 918006):

The personal bankruptcy system is part of a larger system of household risk management. Much of the discussion of personal bankruptcy has focused on bankruptcy's insurance role with respect to unsecured obligations like credit cards and medical bills. In this symposium contribution, I redirect the analysis by evaluating the bankruptcy system, and particularly chapter 13, as a mortgagor protection law. In particular, I explore how bankruptcy might be encouraging and prolonging unsustainable homeownership. I then consider the impact of two recent revisions to the Bankruptcy Code relating to credit counseling and repeat filers. I conclude that these revisions may improve the system modestly by enabling sorting based on homeownership sustainability.

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Special thanks to the folks at ssrn.com, who suggested we let people know of the following policies and procedures in respect of downloading papers from SSRN:

Anyone new to our system who clicks on the link to purchase the paper will be first asked to register their e-mail address on our system. This is something that is required before one can download. The registration is just a security feature and doesn't cost anything, nor will the e-mail address be used for any other purpose but for our system to be able to recognize the user in his use of our services.

Thanks also to our firm's law clerk and full-time Northwestern U. student DeJohn Allen for helping assemble this post.

© Steve Jakubowski 2006

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