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Courts and Banks: Effects of Judicial Enforcement on Credit Markets

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Abstract

The costs of enforcing contracts is a key determinant of market performance. We document this point with reference to the credit market. We start by presenting a model of opportunistic debtors and inefficient courts. According to the model, improvements in judicial efficiency reduce credit rationing and increase lending, while have an ambiguous effect on interest rates, depending on banking competition and on the type of judicial reform. These predictions are supported by panel data on Italian provinces and by cross-country evidence. In Italian provinces with longer trials or large backlogs of pending trials, credit is less widely available than elsewhere. International evidence also shows that the depth of mortgage markets is inversely related to costs of mortgage foreclosure and other proxies for judicial inefficiency.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 58.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2001
Date of revision: 09 Apr 2002
Publication status: Published in The Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, April 2005, vol. 37, issue 2, pages 223-244
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:58

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Keywords: enforcement; judicial efficiency; credit market; lending; interest rates;

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  1. Clauretie, Terrence M & Herzog, Thomas N, 1990. "The Effect of State Foreclosure Laws on Loan Losses: Evidence from the Mortgage Insurance Industry," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 22(2), pages 221-33, May.
  2. Chiuri, Maria Concetta & Jappelli, Tullio, 2001. "Financial Market Imperfections and Home Ownership: A Comparative Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 2717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Manove, Michael & Padilla, Atilano Jorge & Pagano, Marco, 2000. "Collateral Vs. Project Screening: A Model Of Lazy Banks," CEPR Discussion Papers 2439, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alston, Lee J, 1984. "Farm Foreclosure Moratorium Legislation: A Lesson from the Past," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 445-57, June.
  7. Fabiani, S. & Pellegrini, G., 1997. "Education, Infrastructure, Geography and Growth: An Empirical Analysis of the Development of Italian Provinces," Papers 323, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  8. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "Legal Determinants of External Finance," NBER Working Papers 5879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mitchell A. Petersen & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1994. "The Effect of Credit Market Competition on Lending Relationships," NBER Working Papers 4921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Daniela Fabbri & Mario Padula, 2001. "Judicial Costs and Household Debt," CSEF Working Papers 65, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  12. Manove, Michael & Padilla, A Jorge & Pagano, Marco, 2001. "Collateral versus Project Screening: A Model of Lazy Banks," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(4), pages 726-44, Winter.
  13. Andrew Powell & Marcela Cristini & Ramiro Moya, 2001. "The Importance of an Effective Legal System for Credit Markets: The Case of Argentina," Research Department Publications 3125, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  14. Terrence M. Clauretie, 1987. "The Impact of Interstate Foreclosure Cost Differences and the Value of Mortgages on Default Rates," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 15(3), pages 152-167.
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