The Debt Collection Lab produces original research papers and briefs studying the impact ofdebt collection lawsuits on consumers and the courts.



Debt Collection Lab researchers are an interdisciplinary team of scholars studying debt, debt collection, and courts. Our work explores court processes and evaluates state reforms to help level the legal playing field for unrepresented consumer borrowers and tells the stories of individuals and communities impacted by consumer debt.

Claire Johnson Raba & Dalié JiménezJuly 15, 2024

More Paper in California: An Evaluation of Documentation Reforms in State Court

In the first of several research reports examining the effects of laws meant to increase the accuracy of debt collection judgments, researchers at the Debt Collection Lab along with professors at the University of California Berkeley School of Law report on the effect of a 2014 California law meant to do just that. They find that at least for a few years, the law reduced default judgments and delayed the time to obtain a judgment by 10 weeks when comparing lawsuits brought by third-party collectors versus those brought by original creditors.

Claire Johnson Raba & Dalié JiménezJune 01, 2024

California Debt Collection Lawsuits, Geography, Credit, and Race/Ethnicity: An Exploration

By combining debt collection lawsuit data with credit report and demographic information, researchers at the Debt Collection Lab are shedding light on the connection between financial distress and debt lawsuits. In a study of four counties in California, they find evidence of disparities across race and ethnicity. For example, Hispanic consumers are sued about a debt at more than twice the rate of their White neighbors, even though they have fewer delinquent accounts, fewer collections, and fewer bankruptcies than their White counterparts.

Claire Johnson RabaJuly 31, 2023

The Unequal Burden of Debt Claims: Disparate Impact in California Debt Collection Cases

New findings from the Debt Collection Lab show that debt collection lawsuits are filed at higher rates against Black and Hispanic borrowers in California. Court data coupled with demographic predictions show disparities in engagement in the litigation process and more entries of judgment against non-white consumer defendants.

Claire Johnson RabaJuly 24, 2023

One-Sided Litigation: Lessons from Civil Docket Data in California Debt Collection Lawsuits

A new report summarizes the impact of debt collection cases on California consumers. Repeat player debt collectors and their attorneys have a litigation advantage in this state where unrepresented consumer defendants rarely participate in the court process.