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Contribution Details

Type Working Paper
Scope Discipline-based scholarship
Title Getting Out of Debt: Attachment of wage in whose interest?
Organization Unit
  • Christoph Zaborowski
  • Peter Zweifel
  • English
Institution University of Zurich
Series Name Working paper series / Socioeconomic Institute
Number No. 9802
Date 1998
Abstract Text Attachment of wage as a way for creditors to enforce payment by unwilling or insolvent debtors is not very successful in several countries. Based on a dynamic model of debtor behaviour, this paper explores two alternatives of reform. One is to reduce the rate of attachment, which at present amounts to 100 percent of the wage income exceeding the subsistence level, thus probably destroying incentives to work. According to model simulations, reducing the attachment rate is likely to result in an increase of labour supply but a decrease of attachment revenue per period. Second, the introduction of a debt release would have an ambiguous effect on labour supply. While resulting in a partial loss for creditors, it would permit debtors to get out of debt. A Pareto improvement thus does not seem to be possible. When taking the taxpayers as an involved third party into account, however, a potential Pareto improvement appears attainable.
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