IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does Sweden Have Too Many or Too Few Bankruptcies Compared to EU Countries, Norway and the USA?


  • Buttwill, Klas

    () (Department of Economics)


The main purpose with this paper is to compare the frequency of liquidation bankruptcies in Sweden with the frequency of bankruptcies in countries (Germany, U.S., Finland, Norway, U.K. and Denmark) that have a similar economic structure and there by are we able to investigate the legal influence on bankruptcies and costs associated with bankruptcies. When one judges the frequency of bankruptcy in different countries, the main issue is to decide which frequency of bankruptcy is the optimal one (the efficient one). A country is classified as having “too many” bankruptcies when firms that have a positive net present value (in financial distress but not in economic distress) are closed or if many of the bankruptcies are due economically related crimes. A country is classified as having “too few” bankruptcies when firms that are in both in financial and economic distress continues to operate. Relating bankruptcies to number of employees in the respective country makes it possible to compare frequency of bankruptcies between countries. We compare frequency of bankruptcy between countries for the period 1985 to 1996. Sweden, Norway and Finland have on average a significant higher frequency of bankruptcies than the other countries. In Germany, Finland, Great Britain and Sweden is the use of a reorganisation procedure not a real option to the liquidation procedure, in contrast to U.S. The construction industry and the industry wholesale and retail, repairs, Hotels and restaurants are the industries in every country that either has the highest frequency of bankruptcy or belongs to the industries with the highest frequency of bankruptcy. In Sweden there are four years that deviate in the period of investigation (both in total number of bankruptcies but also with respect to the individual industry bankruptcies) due to an extremely high frequency of bankruptcies (1991 to 1994) and this is the case also for the other countries (at least for the total number of bankruptcies) except for Germany and U.S. Norway is the country with the highest proportion of bankruptcy firms with no employees in relation to total number of bankruptcies. There is no indication that shell-companies are the driving force behind the frequency of bankruptcies in Sweden during the time period investigated. In Sweden, for the period 1991 to 1994, there is an indication that companies ended up earlier than normally in liquidation bankruptcy and also that these companies are in better financial condition than normally. For Sweden, it seems as though the banks do not explicitly file for bankruptcy.

Suggested Citation

  • Buttwill, Klas, 2004. "Does Sweden Have Too Many or Too Few Bankruptcies Compared to EU Countries, Norway and the USA?," Ratio Working Papers 56, The Ratio Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ratioi:0056

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    2. Clas Wihlborg & Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, 2001. "Infrastructure Requirements in the Area of Bankruptcy Law," Center for Financial Institutions Working Papers 01-09, Wharton School Center for Financial Institutions, University of Pennsylvania.
    3. Thorburn, Karin S., 2000. "Bankruptcy auctions: costs, debt recovery, and firm survival," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 337-368, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rigmar Osterkamp, 2006. "Insolvenzen in ausgewählten OECD-Ländern - Umfang, Tendenzen, Gesetze," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 59(09), pages 22-29, May.

    More about this item


    Insolvency procedures; Bankruptcy; Reorganisation; Financial crisis; Economic structure;

    JEL classification:

    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:hhs:ratioi:0056. 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: (Martin Korpi). General contact details of provider: .

    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 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.

    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.