A Tale of Two Debtors: Bankruptcy Disparities by Race

25 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2013 Last revised: 22 May 2018

See all articles by Rory Van Loo

Rory Van Loo

Boston University - School of Law; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

Date Written: November 13, 2013


This article offers the first quantitative evidence on race and bankruptcy. Minority debtors fare worse overall in bankruptcy — blacks are 40% and Hispanics 43% less likely than whites to receive a discharge in Chapter 13 after controlling for variables such as education, income, and employment. While the data do not allow for causal inference, Chapter 13 trustees were twice as likely to have made a motion to dismiss even against black debtors who ultimately completed their multi-year bankruptcy plans than against similar white debtors. The paper also indicates that a lack of attorney representation by minority debtors may make them less likely to obtain relief.

Keywords: consumer, Chapter 7,Hispanic, BAPCPA, poverty, family, home ownership, law, debt, mortgage, credit cards, ethnicity

Suggested Citation

Van Loo, Rory, A Tale of Two Debtors: Bankruptcy Disparities by Race (November 13, 2013). Albany Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 231, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2353716

Rory Van Loo (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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