Home » Grants


A Sample of Historical Bankruptcy Cases

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 1) photographing key documents from a representative sample of cases filed under the bankruptcy laws of 1898 and 1978 through partnership with the National Archives, 2) constructing a data set from the information on the key documents, and 3) distributing the data for widespread use through the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Many thanks to the funders who contributed to this project, including:

National Science Foundation, Economics and Law and Social Sciences Programs (SES-1355742) “Collaborative Research: Opening New Views into Bankruptcy and Credit Markets Using Court Records” June 1, 2014-May 31, 2016 (with Mary E. Hansen)

Institute for New Economic Thinking, “Emergency Preservation of Federal Bankruptcy Court Records, 1940-2000” August 1, 2011-December 31, 2012 (with Mary E. Hansen)

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (Grant Number 2011-6-16), “Digital Preservation of Bankruptcy Court Records, 1898-2000,” September 15, 2011-October 31, 2012 (with Mary E. Hansen)

Loyola Marymount University, Rains Research Assistant Program, 2013-2019

Loyola Marymount University, Bellarmine Research Award Program 2015-2016

Rutgers University, Faculty Research Grant, “Creating a Data Set of Bankrupt Households” 2012