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Series

Columbia Law School

Bankruptcy Law

2010

Georgetown Law Journal

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Saving Up For Bankruptcy, Ronald J. Mann, Katherine Porter Jan 2010

Saving Up For Bankruptcy, Ronald J. Mann, Katherine Porter

Faculty Scholarship

Bankruptcy is a numbers game. Policymaking, public perception, and the scholarly literature are captivated with the number of annual bankruptcy filings, which hit one million in 2008. The number of annual bankruptcy filings has become a barometer of economic health, reflecting an implicit assumption that bankruptcy is a useful proxy for financial distress.

But at the level of the individual family, the causative relation between financial distress and bankruptcy filings is unclear. On the one hand, only a fraction of those in serious financial distress will ever file for bankruptcy. For example, a study by Michelle White examined a group ...