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Bankruptcy: Is it enough to forgive or must we also forget?

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  • Ronel Elul
  • Piero Gottardi

Abstract

In many countries, lenders are not permitted to use information about past defaults after a specified period of time has elapsed. The authors model this provision and determine conditions under which it is optimal. ; They develop a model in which entrepreneurs must repeatedly seek external funds to finance a sequence of risky projects under conditions of both adverse selection and moral hazard. They show that forgetting a default makes incentives worse, ex-ante, because it reduces the punishment for failure. However, following a default it is generally good to forget, because pooling riskier agents with safer ones makes exerting high effort to preserve their reputation more attractive. ; The authors' key result is that if agents are sufficiently patient, and low effort is not too inefficient, then the optimal law would prescribe some amount of forgetting --- that is, it would not permit lenders to fully utilize past information. The authors also show that such a law must be enforced by the government - no lender would willingly agree to forget. Finally, they also use their model to examine the policy debate that arose during the adoption of these rules. ; Also issued as: Payment Cards Center Discussion Paper No. 07-05

Suggested Citation

  • Ronel Elul & Piero Gottardi, 2007. "Bankruptcy: Is it enough to forgive or must we also forget?," Working Papers 07-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:07-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marieke Bos & Leonard I. Nakamura, 2012. "Should defaults be forgotten? Evidence from legally mandated removal," Working Papers 12-29, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 01 Apr 2013.
    2. Sergei Kovbasyuk & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2016. "Memory and Markets," EIEF Working Papers Series 1606, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2017.
    3. Saengchote, Kanis & Tirapat, Sunti, 2017. "What happens when we forget? The effect of removing adverse information on access to credit," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 96-99.
    4. Bond, Philip & Newman, Andrew F., 2009. "Prohibitions on punishments in private contracts," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 526-540, October.
    5. C. Cahn & M. Girotti & A. Landier, 2017. "Entrepreneurship and Information on Past Failures: A Natural Experiment," Working papers 644, Banque de France.
    6. repec:eee:intfin:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:13-35 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Tal Gross & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Jialan Wang, 2016. "The Marginal Propensity to Consume Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 22518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Margherita Bottero & Giancarlo Spagnolo, 2013. "Limited credit records and market outcomes," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 903, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Kalyvas, Antonios Nikolaos & Mamatzakis, Emmanuel, 2017. "Do creditor rights and information sharing affect the performance of foreign banks?," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 13-35.
    10. Marieke Bos & Emily Breza & Andres Liberman, 2016. "The Labor Market Effects of Credit Market Information," NBER Working Papers 22436, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • K35 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Personal Bankruptcy Law

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