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The Impact of Legal Sanctions on Moral Hazard when Debt Contracts are Renegotiable

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  • Régis Blazy

    ()
    (Luxembourg School of Finance, University of Luxembourg)

  • Laurent Weill
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    Abstract

    This research investigates how bankruptcy law influences the design of debt contracts and the investments choices. We model a lending relationship between a small firm and a monopolistic bank who decides the level of the interest rate. The firm may perform asset substitution, which is sanctioned by the Law through legal sanctions. These apply in case of costly bankruptcy only. This way of resolving financial distress can be avoided yet, if a private agreement is achieved. First, – when sanctions are high – we show costly bankruptcy may be preferred by honest firms over private negotiation: thus, costly bankruptcy cannot be avoided under a severe legal environment. However, as the bank internalizes the rules of default, debt contracts are designed so that this situation never happens at equilibrium (“legal efficiency”). Second, a peculiar legislation may incite banks to accept generalized moral hazard (“economic inefficiency”). Then, the legislator can indirectly enforce economic efficiency. However he must consider effects beyond the simple comparison between the levels of legal sanctions and of bankruptcy costs, and focus on the impact of such legal sanctions on the design of debt contract. Simulated results show that even small changes of legal sanctions may have drastic effects on the firm’s investment policy. Besides, it appears that extreme severity (i.e. 100% of the manager’s wealth is subject to legal sanctions) is not needed to ensure economic efficiency. Last, in some situations, the legislator may have the choice between several levels of legal sanctions all leading to economic efficiency: when choosing between them, the legislator affects the profit sharing only.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Luxembourg School of Finance, University of Luxembourg in its series LSF Research Working Paper Series with number 06-09.

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    Date of creation: 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:crf:wpaper:06-09

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    Related research

    Keywords: Bankruptcy; Bank Lending; Moral Hazard; Legal Sanctions.;

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    References

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    12. Michelle J. White, 2005. "Economic Analysis of Corporate and Personal Bankruptcy Law," NBER Working Papers 11536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Harris, Milton & Raviv, Artur, 1990. " Capital Structure and the Informational Role of Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(2), pages 321-49, June.
    14. Cornelli, Francesca & Felli, Leonardo, 1997. "Ex-ante efficiency of bankruptcy procedures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 475-485, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Jean Luc De Meulemeester, 2007. "L'économie de l'éducation fait-elle des progrès? Une perspective d'histoire de la pensée économique," DULBEA Working Papers 07-15.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Caroline Gerschlager, 2008. "Foolishness and identity: Amartya Sen and Adam Smith," DULBEA Working Papers 08-03.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Charles Plaigin, 2009. "Exploratory study on the presence of cultural and institutional growth spillovers," DULBEA Working Papers 09-03.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Oscar Bernal Diaz & Kim Oosterlinck & Ariane Szafarz, 2009. "Observing bailout expectations during a total eclipse of the sun," DULBEA Working Papers 09-01.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Benoît Mahy & François Rycx & Mélanie Volral, 2008. "L'influence de la dispersion salariale sur la performance des grandes entreprises belges," Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(3), pages 27-40.
    6. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Friedrich Schneider & Laurent Weill, 2007. "Does taking the shadow economy into account matter to measure aggregate efficiency?," DULBEA Working Papers 07-18.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Henri Capron, 2007. "Politique de cohésion et développement régional," DULBEA Working Papers 07-16.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Abdeslam Marfouk, 2008. "The African brain drain: scope and determinants," DULBEA Working Papers 08-07.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Ariane Szafarz, 2007. "Hiring people-like-yourself: a representation of discrimination on the job market," Working Papers CEB 07-021.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    10. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "Labour market discrimination as an agency cost," Working Papers CEB 08-019.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    11. Hassan Ayoub & Jérôme Creel & Etienne Farvaque, 2008. "Détermination du niveau des prix et finances: le cas du Liban 1965-2005," DULBEA Working Papers 08-10.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    12. Jean-Luc Demeulemeester & Olivier Debande, 2008. "Quality and Variety Competition in Higher Education," Working Papers 08-10, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC).
    13. Jérôme De Henau & Leila Maron & Danièle Meulders & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Travail et maternité en Europe: conditions de travail et politiques publiques," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(1), pages 63-88.
    14. Michele Cincera & Henri Capron, 2007. "EU pre-competitive and near-the-market S&T collaborations," DULBEA Working Papers 07-17.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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