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Credit, Wages and Bankruptcy Laws


  • Biais, Bruno
  • Mariotti, Thomas


We study the impact of different bankruptcy laws in general equilibrium, taking into account the interactions between the credit and labour markets, as well as wealth heterogeneity. Soft bankruptcy laws often preclude liquidation, to avoid ex-post inefficiencies. This worsens credit rationing, depresses investment and reduces aggregate leverage. Yet, tough laws do not necessarily maximize social welfare or emerge from the legislative process. Relatively rich agents can invest irrespective of the law. They favour soft laws that exclude poorer entrepreneurs from the market and thus reduce labour demand and wages. This raises the pledgeable income of the entrepreneurs who still can raise funds, and thus lowers their liquidation rates and the associated inefficiencies. Hence, a soft law can maximize social welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Biais, Bruno & Mariotti, Thomas, 2003. "Credit, Wages and Bankruptcy Laws," CEPR Discussion Papers 3996, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3996

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola Gennaioli & Stefano Rossi, 2013. "Contractual Resolutions of Financial Distress," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 602-634.
    2. Janiak, Alexandre, 2013. "Structural unemployment and the costs of firm entry and exit," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 1-19.
    3. Hajime Tomura, 2007. "Firms Dynamics, Bankruptcy Laws and Total Factor Productivity," Staff Working Papers 07-17, Bank of Canada.
    4. repec:eee:irlaec:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:29-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Tarantino, Emanuele, 2013. "Bankruptcy law and corporate investment decisions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2490-2500.
    6. Madestam, Andreas, 2014. "Informal finance: A theory of moneylenders," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 157-174.
    7. Enrico Perotti, 2013. "The Political Economy of Finance," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-034/IV/DSF53, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Franks, Julian & Sussman, Oren, 2005. "Financial innovations and corporate bankruptcy," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 283-317, July.
    9. Aney, Madhav S. & Ghatak, Maitreesh & Morelli, Massimo, 2016. "Credit market frictions and political failure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 48-64.

    More about this item


    bankruptcy law; credit rationing; financial constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law

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