Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class
Stanford University Press, Jan 11, 2012 - Social Science - 320 pages
About 1.5 million households filed bankruptcy in the last year, making bankruptcy as common as college graduation and divorce. The recession has pushed more and more families into financial collapse—with unemployment, declines in retirement wealth, and falling house values destabilizing the American middle class. Broke explores the consequences of this unprecedented growth in consumer debt and shows how excessive borrowing undermines the prosperity of middle class America.
While the recession that began in mid-2007 has widened the scope of the financial pain caused by overindebtedness, the problem predated that large-scale economic meltdown. And by all indicators, consumer debt will be a defining feature of middle-class families for years to come. The staples of middle-class life—going to college, buying a house, starting a small business—carry with them more financial risk than ever before, requiring more borrowing and new riskier forms of borrowing. This book reveals the people behind the statistics, looking closely at how people get to the point of serious financial distress, the hardships of dealing with overwhelming debt, and the difficulty of righting one's financial life. In telling the stories of financial failures, this book exposes an all-too-real part of middle-class life that is often lost in the success stories that dominate the American economic narrative.
Authored by experts in several disciplines, including economics, law, political science, psychology, and sociology, Broke presents analyses from an original, proprietary data set of unprecedented scope and detail, the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project. Topics include class status, home ownership, educational attainment, impacts of self-employment, gender differences, economic security, and the emotional costs of bankruptcy. The book makes judicious use of illustrations to present key findings and concludes with a discussion of the implications of the data for contemporary policy debates.
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Methodology of the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project Katherine Porter
Other editions - View all
African Americans analysis assets associate’s degree attorneys bachelor’s degree bank bankrupt debtors bankrupt households bankruptcy data bankruptcy filers Bankruptcy Project 2007 bankruptcy system bill-paying borrowing CBP sample Chapter 13 filing chapter choice coded conditional median Consumer Bankruptcy Project consumer debt couples credit card debt creditors debt burdens debt-to-income ratio default demographic differences discharge earn economic security example families in bankruptcy Figure filed for bankruptcy financial distress financially vulnerable foreclosure high school higher home equity home loss homeownership housing cost burdens housing cost ratios increased Katherine Porter lawyers lenders less logistic regression measure middle class mortgage debt ofthe paying bills percent percentage pro se problems quantile questionnaire race reported respondents ruptcy savings self-employed self-employment social spouse statistically significant stress student loan debt suggest survey Table tion total debt U.S. Census Bureau U.S. population unsecured debt variables wages Warren wealth women workers