An important finding from the comparison of debt problems and policies to regulate them in six countries is that the differences in personal insolvency regimes do not follow the traditional welfare state regime demarcation lines. For over-indebted individuals, the US offers the best possibility for a fresh start. Undoubtedly the swift debt discharge options in the US, even with their deficiencies, compensate for the underdeveloped welfare state programmes in other areas. However, weaknesses of, for example, health care systems and support for students are important causes of over-indebtedness in the US. The social policy approach calls for a method that would integrate different policy areas related to over-indebtedness. That entails coordination between different ministries and government agencies dealing with a wide range of topics, from regulation of financial markets to consumer education.
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