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Household Debt and Economic Crises

Causes, Consequences and Remedies

Heikki Hiilamo

The trajectories of increasing household debt are studied in the contexts of the US and the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Norway. Household Debt and Economic Crises examines remedies to prevent and alleviate the over-indebtedness epidemic, creating a conceptual framework with which to analyse the causes and consequences of debt. Hiilamo argues that social policies are needed to tackle the current borrowing crisis that endangers and prevents the full participation in society of individuals with excessive debts.
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Chapter 2: Falling into over-indebtedness

Heikki Hiilamo


The institution of private property comes with the presumption that the state will guarantee a creditor’s right to collect payment from a debtor. In case of default, the creditor may turn to the courts to get his money back. Despite the wide range of nationally unique features, all debt recovery procedures comply with a simple five-stage model: routine of requests and warnings; court procedures; debt collection actions; entry into the personal insolvency process; and official credit records. This chapter also discusses different types of debts before presenting a model of personal insolvency regimes. Finally, the central features of debt recovery processes in six countries are presented and compared.

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