I caught this article while reading my science news this morning: Bankruptcy Rates Reflect Policy, Not People. Basically what the article says is that the different rates of bankruptcy filings by state are not due to spending patterns or characteristics of the people in those states but rather policies regarding bankruptcy filing. In other words, Mormons aren’t REALLY spending more than they are making or filing bankruptcy at higher rates (by Mormons I mean Utahans, just to be clear). What’s happening is the laws in the state simply make it more beneficial to file for bankruptcy. Additionally, the younger age structure of the state increases the odds of Utahans filing for bankruptcy.
Okay, those arguments make sense. However, look at the affiliations of the professors who wrote it… Brigham Young University. Hmmm… Anyone think this is a direct response to the claims the paper debunks about Mormons spending too much and being quick to file for bankruptcy (as outlined above)? I’m not going to challenge the article’s findings (not my area of expertise and I don’t have the time), but if there are any economists out there who want to dig into this paper and try to replicate the findings, I’d be really interested to hear what you find.