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Series

Columbia Law School

2018

Civil Rights and Discrimination

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

Race And Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2018

Race And Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

Among consumers who file for bankruptcy, African Americans file Chapter 13 petitions at substantially higher rates than other racial groups. Some have hypothesized that the difference is attributable to discrimination by attorneys. We show that the difference may be attributable, in substantial part, to a selection effect: Among distressed consumers, African Americans have longer commutes to work, rely more heavily on cars for the commute, and therefore have greater demand for a bankruptcy process (Chapter 13) that allows them to retain their cars. We begin by showing that African Americans tend to have longer commuting times than other consumers and ...


Race And Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller Jan 2018

Race And Bankruptcy, Edward R. Morrison, Belisa Pang, Antoine Uettwiller

Faculty Scholarship

African American bankruptcy filers are more likely to select Chapter 13 than other debtors, who opt instead for Chapter 7, which has higher success rates and lower attorney fees. Prior scholarship blames racial discrimination by bankruptcy attorneys. We present an alternative explanation: Chapter 13 offers benefits, including retention of assets such as cars and driver's licenses, that are more valuable to African American debtors because they have relatively long commutes. We take advantage of a 2011 policy in Chicago, which suspended driver's licenses of consumers with large traffic-related debts. The policy produced a large increase in Chapter 13 ...