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Nearsighted justice

  • Dan Bernhardt
  • Ed Nosal

Chapter 11 structures complex negotiations between creditors and debtors that are overseen by a bankruptcy court. This paper identifies conditions under which it is optimal for the court to sometimes err in determining whether a firm should be liquidated. Such errors can affect the optimal action choices by both good and bad entrepreneurs. We first characterize the optimal error rate without renegotiation, providing conditions under which it is optimal for the court both to sometimes mistakenly liquidate "good firms," but not "bad firms." When creditors and debtors can renegotiate to circumvent an error-riven court and creditors have all of the bargaining power, we show that for a broad class of action choices, a blind court--one that ignores all information and hence is equally likely to liquidate a good firm as a bad one--is optimal.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in its series Working Paper with number 0304.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedcwp:0304
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  1. Shin Hyun Song, 1994. "The Burden of Proof in a Game of Persuasion," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 253-264, October.
  2. Fishman, Michael J & Hagerty, Kathleen M, 1990. "The Optimal Amount of Discretion to Allow in Disclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 427-44, May.
  3. Grossman, Gene M & Katz, Michael L, 1983. "Plea Bargaining and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 749-57, September.
  4. Spier, Kathryn E, 1994. "Settlement Bargaining and the Design of Damage Awards," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 84-95, April.
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