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Employment preservation vs. creditors' repayment under bankruptcy law: The French dilemma?


  • Blazy, Régis
  • Chopard, Bertrand
  • Fimayer, Agnès
  • Guigou, Jean-Daniel


The paper investigates the French dilemma associated with court administered resolution of corporate financial distress. In such a legal system, the courts seek a double objective: maintaining job positions through continuation, and determining the best outcome for the claimants. We discuss this dilemma empirically, using a unique sample of bankruptcy files on French SMEs. We address successively three critical questions. First, we highlight the determinants of the final bankruptcy outcome (continuation through reorganization or sale, or piecemeal liquidation): does continuation (the most employment-friendly outcome) depend on the firm's characteristics, and/or on the way the procedure is managed? Second, we study the determinants of the creditors' recovery rates: do the courts play an active role in increasing recoveries? Third, we address the dilemma directly by focusing on sales as a going concern. We model the court administered selection process between rival buyout offers: do the courts balance the social content against the financial content of each offer? Is there an explicit arbitrage between employment preservation and creditor recoveries? Our main results are: (1) the French courts actively work to facilitate continuation against liquidation, and thus play a role in employment preservation. Besides, we find continuation is more likely to prevail when default is an outcome of specific difficulties (outlets, finance, and production). (2) We confirm the Radulovic (2008) findings: the global recovery rate mainly depends on the firm's ex ante characteristics at the time of triggering, while the way the procedure is managed by the court has little impact. Similarly to LoPucki and Doherty (2007), continuation via reorganization does not generate lower recovery rates on average than the other outcomes. (3) Last, the courts' choice between rival buyout offers confirms that social considerations prevail in the arbitration. Yet, the courts still consider financial issues as well (a higher sale price increases the chances that an offer is selected), but without clear connection with the amount of due claims (one direct consequence is a moderate recovery rate on sales).

Suggested Citation

  • Blazy, Régis & Chopard, Bertrand & Fimayer, Agnès & Guigou, Jean-Daniel, 2011. "Employment preservation vs. creditors' repayment under bankruptcy law: The French dilemma?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 126-141, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:31:y:2011:i:2:p:126-141

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jaroslav Schönfeld & Luboš Smrčka & Eva Kislingerová & Jakub Erlitz, 2014. "Bankruptcies in Czech Republic: Reality identified by examining the statistical," Ekonomika a Management, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2014(2).
    2. Zhu, Xiaoquan & Peng, Hongfeng & Zhang, Zijian, 2020. "The nexus of judicial efficiency, social burden and default risk: Cross-country evidence," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    3. Blazy, Régis & Chopard, Bertrand & Nigam, Nirjhar, 2013. "Building legal indexes to explain recovery rates: An analysis of the French and English bankruptcy codes," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 1936-1959.
    4. Régis BLAZY & Stéphane ESQUERRE, 2019. "The CV effect: How far do the chances to reorganize depend on the bankruptcy judges’ profile?," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2019-07, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    5. Régis Blazy & Joël Petey & Laurent Weill, 2018. "Serving the creditors after insolvency filings: from value creation to value distribution," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 331-375, April.
    6. Stéphane Esquerré, 2019. "Court structure and legal efficiency, the case of French échevinage in bankruptcy courts," Working Papers hal-02305492, HAL.
    7. Jan Plaček & Luboš Smrčka & Markéta Arltová & Jaroslav Schönfeld, 2016. "The Relationship Between GDP Per Inhabitant and the Quality of Insolvency Proceedings (An Analysis on the Basis of Surveying Five Groups of Countries)," Ekonomika a Management, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2016(4).
    8. Cepec, Jaka & Grajzl, Peter, 2020. "Debt-to-equity conversion in bankruptcy reorganization and post-bankruptcy firm survival," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
    9. Luboš SMRÈKA & Markéta ARLTOVÁ & Jaroslav SCHÖNFELD, 2017. "Quality of Insolvency Proceedings in Selected Countries – Analysis Focused on Recovery Rates, Costs and Duration," REVISTA ADMINISTRATIE SI MANAGEMENT PUBLIC, Faculty of Administration and Public Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 2017(28), pages 116-132, June.
    10. Jaka Cepec & Peter Grajzl & Katarina Zajc, 2016. "Debt Recovery in Firm Liquidations: Do Liquidation Trustees Matter?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6034, CESifo.
    11. Stéphane Esquerré, 2019. "Don't feed the zombies Essay on survival of bankrupt firms in French bankrupcty courts," Working Papers hal-02305501, HAL.
    12. Stéphane Esquerré, 2019. "How do judges judge? Evidence of local effect on French bankruptcy judgments," Working Papers hal-02291688, HAL.
    13. Luboš Smrčka & Markéta Arltová & Jaroslav Schönfeld, 2013. "Příčiny neúspěchu prosazování sanačních postupů v insolvenční realitě [Reasons for the Failure to Implement Financial Rehabilitation Procedures in Insolvent Reality]," Politická ekonomie, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2013(2), pages 188-208.
    14. Luboš Smrčka & Jaroslav Schönfeld, 2014. "Several Conclusions from Research of Insolvency Cases in the Czech Republic," Central European Business Review, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2014(1), pages 13-19.


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