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Research Details

Wage Garnishment in the United States: New Facts from Administrative Payroll Records

Abstract

Wage garnishment allows private and public creditors to pull money directly out of aworker’s paycheck to repay defaulted debt. Despite growing public concern surrounding the effects of strict debt collection mechanisms, a dearth of data has precluded empirical examination of the prevalence of wage garnishment and its effect on U.S. workers. Using administrative payroll data, we document five new descriptive empirical facts about wage garnishment, including its prevalence; duration; stringency; distribution across worker characteristics; and interaction with labor supply. Together, these facts shed light on an important but understudied form of debt collection and lay foundation for future research.

Type

Working Paper

Author(s)

Anthony DeFusco, Brandon Enriquez, Maggie Yellen

Date Published

2022

Citations

DeFusco, Anthony, Brandon Enriquez, and Maggie Yellen. 2022. Wage Garnishment in the United States: New Facts from Administrative Payroll Records.

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