Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2005

Center/Program

The Charles Evans Gerber Transactional Studies Center

Center/Program

Center for Contract and Economic Organization

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between consumer credit markets and bankruptcy policy. In general, I argue that the causative relationships running between borrowing and bankruptcy compel a new strategy for policing the conduct of lenders and borrowers in modern consumer credit markets. The strategy must be sensitive to the role of the credit card in lending markets and must recognize that both issuers and cardholders are well placed to respond to the increased levels of spending and indebtedness. In the latter parts of the article, I recommend mandatory minimum payment requirements, a tax on distressed credit card debt, and the subordination of payments to credit card lenders in bankruptcy. I also argue that many aspects of the American bankruptcy system, as recently reformed, are overly protective of credit card issuers.

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