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Do Reorganization Costs Matter for Efficiency? Evidence from a Bankruptcy Reform in Colombia

  • Xavier Gin�
  • Inessa Love

An efficient bankruptcy system should liquidate nonviable businesses and reorganize viable ones. The importance of this filtering process has long been recognized in the literature; the typical reason advanced for its failure has been biases (in codes or among judges). In this paper we show that bankruptcy costs can be another source of such filtering failure. We illustrate this with the Colombian reform of 1999. Using data from 1,924 firms filing for bankruptcy between 1996 and 2003, we find that the prereform reorganization proceedings were so inefficient that the bankruptcy system failed to separate economically viable firms from inefficient ones. In contrast, by streamlining the reorganization process, the reform contributed to the improvement of the selection of viable firms into reorganization. In this sense, the new law increased the efficiency of the bankruptcy system in Colombia.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 53 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 833 - 864

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/605848
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  1. Alderson, Michael J. & Betker, Brian L., 1995. "Liquidation costs and capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 45-69, September.
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  7. Robert Gertner & David Scharfstein, 1991. "A Theory of Workouts and the Effects of Reorganization Law," NBER Technical Working Papers 0103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Per Strömberg, 2000. "Conflicts of Interest and Market Illiquidity in Bankruptcy Auctions: Theory and Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2641-2692, December.
  9. Franks, Julian R & Lóránth, Gyöngyi, 2005. "A Study of Inefficient Going Concerns in Bankruptcy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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