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Debt Overhang and Barter in Russia

  • Guriev, Sergei
  • Makarov, Igor
  • Maurel, Mathilde

In this Paper we study, both theoretically and empirically, the relationship between barter and the indebtedness of Russian firms. We build a model in which a firm uses barter to protect its working capital against outside creditors even when barter involves high transaction costs. The main innovation of our work is to allow renegotiation between the firm and its creditors. If the creditors are rational, they often agree to postpone debt payments in order to avoid destroying the firm's working capital. It turns out, however, that even if the firm cannot ensure it will not divert cash ex post, the outcome of renegotiation still provides ex ante incentives to use barter. We show that the greater the debt overhang, the more likely the use of barter, and although the possibility of debt restructuring reduces barter, it does not eliminate it altogether. We also discuss the role of the government bond market and weak bankruptcy legislation. The firm-level evidence from two independent surveys is consistent with the model's predictions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 30 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 635-656

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:30:y:2002:i:4:p:635-656
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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  1. Brana, Sophie & Maurel, Mathilde, 1999. "Barter in Russia: Liquidity Shortage Versus Lack of Restructuring," CEPR Discussion Papers 2258, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Dalia Marin & Monika Schnitzer, 1999. "Disorganization and Financial Collapse," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 285, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  3. Susan J Linz & Gary Krueger, 1998. "Enterprise Restructuring in Russia's Transition Economy: Formal and Informal Mechanisms," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 40(2), pages 5-52, July.
  4. Wendy Carlin & Steven Fries & Mark Schaffer & Paul Seabright, 2000. "Barter and Non-Monetary Transactions in Transition Economies: Evidence from a Cross-Country Survey," CERT Discussion Papers 0004, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  5. Katharina Pistor & Martin Raiser & Stanislaw Gelfer, 2000. "Law and Finance in Transition Economies," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 8(2), pages 325-368, July.
  6. Stewart C. Myers & Raghuram G. Rajan, 1995. "The Paradox of Liquidity," NBER Working Papers 5143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. E.C. Perotti & O. Carare, 1997. "The Evolution of Bank Credit Quality in Transition: Theory and Evidence from Romania," CERT Discussion Papers 9702, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  8. Krugman, Paul, 1988. "Financing vs. forgiving a debt overhang," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 253-268, November.
  9. V. Makarov & G. Kleiner, 1999. "Barter in Russia: Institutional Stage," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
  10. Berglof, Erik & Roland, Gerard, 1998. "Soft Budget Constraints and Banking in Transition Economies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 18-40, March.
  11. Earle, John S. & Peter, Klara Sabirianova, 2000. "Equilibrium Wage Arrears: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Institutional Lock-In," IZA Discussion Papers 196, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Guriev, Sergei & Kvassov, Dmitry, 2000. "Barter For Price Discrimination?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2449, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Clifford Gaddy & Barry W. Ickes, 1998. "To Restructure or Not to Restructure: Informal Activities and Enterprise Behavior in Transition," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 134, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  14. Katharina Pistor & Martin Raiser & Stanislaw Gelfer, 2000. "Law and Finance in Transition Economies," CID Working Papers 49, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  15. V. Makarov & G. Kleiner, 2000. "Barter in Russia," Problems of Economic Transition, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 42(11), pages 51-79, March.
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