Over 34 million individuals and businesses have used the federal bankruptcy law since 1898.
Would you be surprised to find out that researchers and policymakers interested in studying the causes and consequences of bankruptcy can readily download detailed information about just a few hundred bankrupt households and virtually no bankrupt businesses?
Our project aims to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the causes and consequences of bankruptcy and on the history of credit markets more generally by
- Photographing key documents from a representative sample of cases filed under the bankruptcy laws of 1898 and 1978 through partnership with the National Archives,
- Constructing a data set from the information on the key documents, and
- Distributing the data for widespread use through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).