Petites et grandes entreprises face à la faillite au XIXème siècle en France : du droit à la pratique
Economic literature studies bankruptcy as a homogenous phenomenon. Insolvency concerns all kind of firms and judgements are made without any reference to the firm’s size. We consider this assumption does not hold and we try to consider the alternative one, i.e. judges take into account the judicial form and the size. We test it over the 19th century whereas the bankruptcy law evolves towards its modern design. This period also present another great advantage: the limited liabilities companies are created in the second part of the 19th century and, at the same time legislator authorizes the free creation of public societies. It is thus appropriate to see whether judges applied the law indifferently or if they considered differently individual merchants and companies. The first part of the paper describes bankruptcy law and its changes over the period; the second section shows the global changes in the courts activity using national data. The data specially collected in the archives of commercial court of Paris allow us to introduce the legal status and the firms’ size as discriminating factors.
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