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Published May 2015 | Published + Submitted
Journal Article Open

Bankruptcy Rates among NFL Players with Short-Lived Income Spikes


We test for consumption smoothing using bankruptcy data on players in the National Football League (NFL), who typically earn several million dollars during an income spike that lasts a few years. The life-cycle hypothesis predicts that players should save substantially while playing and then have little risk of bankruptcy post-NFL. However, players in our sample begin to file for bankruptcy soon after they stop playing and continue filing at a high rate through at least the first 12 years of retirement. Players' total earnings and career lengths have surprisingly little effect on the risk of bankruptcy.

Additional Information

© 2015 American Economic Association. NBER Working Paper No. 21085. CFC thanks the MacArthur Foundation and the BNDF (Caltech). We thank Zach Fein macand Stephen Loesch for careful research assistance.

Attached Files

Published - aer.p20151038.pdf

Submitted - w21085.pdf


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August 20, 2023
October 23, 2023