IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlawec/y2003v46i2p543-67.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity

Author

Listed:
  • Fan, Wei
  • White, Michelle J

Abstract

The U.S. personal bankruptcy system functions as a bankruptcy system for small businesses as well as consumers, because debts of noncorporate firms are personal liabilities of the firms' owners. If the firm fails, the owner has an incentive to file for bankruptcy, since both business debts and the owner's personal debts will be discharged. In bankruptcy, the owner must give up assets above a fixed exemption level. Because exemption levels are set by the states, they vary widely. We show that higher bankruptcy exemption levels benefit potential entrepreneurs who are risk averse by providing partial wealth insurance and therefore that the probability of owning a business increases as the exemption level increases. We test this prediction and find that the probability of households owning businesses is 35 percent higher if they live in states with unlimited rather than low exemptions.

Suggested Citation

  • Fan, Wei & White, Michelle J, 2003. "Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 543-567, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2003:v:46:i:2:p:543-67
    DOI: 10.1086/382602
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/382602
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1086/382602?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruce, Donald, 2000. "Effects of the United States tax system on transitions into self-employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 545-574, September.
    2. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    3. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    4. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-748, August.
    5. White, M.J., 1998. "Why It Pays to File for Bankruptcy: A Critical Look at Incentives Under U.S. Bankruptcy Laws and A Proposal for Change," Papers 98-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
    6. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
    7. Wang, Hung-Jen & White, Michelle J, 2000. "An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reforms," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 255-286, January.
    8. Longhofer, Stanley D., 1997. "Absolute Priority Rule Violations, Credit Rationing, and Efficiency," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 249-267, July.
    9. Schuetze, Herb J., 2000. "Taxes, economic conditions and recent trends in male self-employment: a Canada-US comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 507-544, September.
    10. Stanley D. Longhofer, 1997. "Absolute priority rule violations, credit rationing, and efficiency," Working Papers (Old Series) 9710, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Wei Fan & Michelle J. White, 2002. "Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity," NBER Working Papers 9340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Wei Fan & Michelle J. White, 2001. "Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-11, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Ekelund, Jesper & Johansson, Edvard & Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta & Lichtermann, Dirk, 2005. "Self-employment and risk aversion--evidence from psychological test data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(5), pages 649-659, October.
    4. Yannis Georgellis & Howard J. Wall, 2006. "Entrepreneurship and the policy environment," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 88(Mar), pages 95-112.
    5. Paul A. Coomes & Jose Fernandez & Stephan F. Gohmann, 2013. "The Rate of Proprietorship Among Metropolitan Areas: The Impact of the Local Economic Environment and Capital Resources," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 37(4), pages 745-770, July.
    6. Fairlie Robert & Woodruff Christopher M., 2010. "Mexican-American Entrepreneurship," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-44, February.
    7. Nadia Simoes & Nuno Crespo & Sandrina B. Moreira, 2016. "Individual Determinants Of Self-Employment Entry: What Do We Really Know?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 783-806, September.
    8. Lofstrom, Magnus & Wang, Chunbei, 2006. "Hispanic Self-Employment: A Dynamic Analysis of Business Ownership," IZA Discussion Papers 2101, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Magnus Lofstrom, 2013. "Does self-employment increase the economic well-being of low-skilled workers?," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 933-952, May.
    10. Julie Zissimopoulos & Lynn A. Karoly, 2004. "Transitions to Self-Employment at Older Ages The Role of Wealth, Health, Health Insurance, and Other Factors," Working Papers WR-135, RAND Corporation.
    11. José María Millán & Emilio Congregado & Concepción Román, 2010. "Determinants of Self-Employment Dynamics and their Implications on Entrepreneurial Policy Effectiveness," Lecturas de Economía, Universidad de Antioquia, Departamento de Economía, issue 72, pages 45-76.
    12. Robert W. Fairlie & Harry A. Krashinsky, 2012. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, And Entrepreneurship Revisited," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(2), pages 279-306, June.
    13. Ozkan Eren & Ozan Sula, 2012. "The Effect of Ability on Young Men's Self-Employment Decision: Evidence from the NELS," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(4), pages 916-935, October.
    14. Lo, Kuang-Ta & Pan, Jiun-Nan & Peng, Shi-Shu, 2020. "The role of gender and its potential channels to affect self-employment in Taiwan," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 601-610.
    15. Kadir Atalay & Woo-Yung Kim & Stephen Whelan, 2014. "The Decline of the Self-Employment Rate in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 47(4), pages 472-489, December.
    16. Erik Monsen & Prashanth Mahagaonkar & Christian Dienes, 2012. "Entrepreneurship in India: the question of occupational transition," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 359-382, September.
    17. Zissimopoulos, Julie M. & Karoly, Lynn A., 2007. "Transitions to self-employment at older ages: The role of wealth, health, health insurance and other factors," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 269-295, April.
    18. Robert W. Fairlie, 2002. "Drug Dealing and Legitimate Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(3), pages 538-567, July.
    19. Frank M. Fossen, 2007. "Risky Earnings, Taxation and Entrepreneurial Choice: A Microeconometric Model for Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 29, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    20. Gumus, Gulcin & Regan, Tracy L., 2015. "Self-employment and the role of health insurance in the U.S," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 357-374.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2003:v:46:i:2:p:543-67. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Journals Division (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.