My encyclopedia essay on "Consumer Bankruptcy," forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives, is now available for download on SSRN.
Here's the Abstract:
Abstract: This is the entry for "Consumer Bankruptcy, Doctrinal Issues In" in the Encyclopedia of Law and Society: American and Global Perspectives. This entry provides a summary and overview of the law and policy of consumer bankruptcy. First, it summarizes the American bankruptcy law legal regime. Second, it explores the competing hypotheses for the rise in bankruptcy filings during the past three decades, contrasting the "traditional" or "distress" model of consumer bankruptcy with the "incentives" or economic model. Third, it describes the recent amendments to the American consumer bankruptcy regime. Finally, it provides a comparative view of consumer bankruptcy law by comparing the American system and trends in American bankruptcy law and policy with Europe and other areas of the world.
As with my entry on Evolutionary Psychology, this essay merely scratches the surface of this complex topic. Nonetheless, I hope it provides a useful overview and introduction to the field.