Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Sue Crull

Second Advisor

Steven Garasky


The purpose of this study was to investigate allegations of abuse related to the United States' bankruptcy system. This study used data on bankruptcy and financial problems from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to estimate a model of consumer bankruptcy abuse. The focus of this study was the extent to which consumers were abusing the right to file for bankruptcy protection;Specifically, this study used a cross-sectional, time-series model of bankruptcy and financial problems and assessed the relative importance of different personal and financial variables in predicting bankruptcy. This study sought to investigate (1) if households in this sample had ever experienced problems managing their money, (2) if households in this sample had ever filed for personal bankruptcy, and (3) what impact these financial management problems had on a household's probability of filing for bankruptcy protection;Results indicate that for many bankrupt households the decision to file for bankruptcy protection was not their first choice to financial distress, as claimed by those alleging bankruptcy abuse; instead, filing for bankruptcy for several households was their last choice. A significant number of households in this study experienced multiple financial problems prior to filing for bankruptcy protection. In this study, heads of households were frequently unable to pay their bills in a timely manner. Many received collection calls from creditors. And still others sought financial relief through consolidation loans, repossessions and wage garnishments;The results indicate that financial problems are a concern to many American households.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Diann Carol Vennink Moorman



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

137 pages