The Geography of Bankruptcy in Australia

American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, Vol 28, No. 2, 2020, pp. 303-325

21 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2020

See all articles by Lucinda O'Brien

Lucinda O'Brien

Melbourne Law School

Malcolm Edward Anderson

Melbourne Law School; Australian Institute of Archaeology

Ian Ramsay

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne

Date Written: January 14, 2020

Abstract

This study analyzes a unique data set to explore geographic variations in bankruptcy across Australia, drawing upon United States research that points to striking differences between urban and rural bankruptcies. The U.S. research finds that rural debtors enter bankruptcy in much more severe financial distress than their urban counterparts. The present study draws upon data obtained from the Australian Financial Security Authority, as well as data gathered by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It finds that, compared with debtors in regional areas, debtors in major cities earn higher incomes, are more likely to be employed and more likely to cite the "excessive use of credit," rather than unemployment, as the cause of their financial problems. In most respects, however, it finds that differences between Australian bankruptcies in urban and non-urban locations are neither consistent nor pronounced. It concludes that broad generalizations about financial hardship in regional areas cannot do justice to the complex geography of bankruptcy in Australia. In this sense, the study poses a contrast to the U.S. research, which identifies stark differences between urban and rural debtors. It offers a nuanced account, one that links bankruptcy rates to localized factors such as housing prices and the impact of specific industries, such as mining.

Keywords: bankruptcy; geography; financial hardship

Suggested Citation

O'Brien, Lucinda and Anderson, Malcolm Edward and Ramsay, Ian, The Geography of Bankruptcy in Australia (January 14, 2020). American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, Vol 28, No. 2, 2020, pp. 303-325, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3699855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3699855

Lucinda O'Brien

Melbourne Law School ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

Malcolm Edward Anderson

Melbourne Law School ( email )

University of Melbourne
Parkville, 3052
Australia

Australian Institute of Archaeology ( email )

Melbourne, Victoria 3010
Australia

Ian Ramsay (Contact Author)

Melbourne Law School - University of Melbourne ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia
+61 3 8344 5332 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.unimelb.edu.au/about/staff/ian-ramsay

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