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Bankruptcy Law and Entrepreneurship

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  • John Armour
  • Douglas Cumming

Abstract

Recent initiatives in a number of countries have sought to promote entrepreneurship through relaxing the legal consequences of personal bankruptcy. Whilst there is an intuitive link, relatively little attention has been paid to the question empirically, particularly in the international context. We investigate the relationship between bankruptcy laws and entrepreneurship using data on self-employment over 16 years (1990--2005) and fifteen countries in Europe and North America. We compile new indices reflecting how "forgiving" personal bankruptcy laws are. These measures vary over time and across the countries studied. We show that bankruptcy law has a statistically and economically significant effect on self-employment rates when controlling for GDP growth, MSCI stock returns, and a variety of other legal and economic factors. Copyright 2008, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2008. "Bankruptcy Law and Entrepreneurship," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 303-350.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:10:y:2008:i:2:p:303-350
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahn008
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups

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