It has been a central assumption in bankruptcy policy debates that financially troubled persons faced with bankruptcy will respond to economic incentives and disincentives. Two provisions of the Bankruptcy Code (Chapters 7 and 13) are most commonly used by individual debtors. Under Chapter 7 debtors agree to give up all their property (n excess of state-determined exemptions) to a trustee for sale and distribution to creditors. Under Chapter 13 debtors keep all their property but agree to pay all or part of their debts over three to five years. This empirical study of fifteen hundred consumers in three states explores whether economic incentives and disincentives are in fact the chief factors influencing choice of chapter. The analysis demonstrates that while economic factors play a part, noneconomic factors are also significant, among them intra- and interstate migration, marital status, self-employment, state of residence, and local legal culture. We conclude that to explore fully how individual decisions are made, the simplistic economic model must be replaced by a more sophisticated model that accounts for both economic and noneconomic factors.