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Personal Bankruptcy Law, Wealth and Entrepreneurship: Theory and Evidence from the Introduction of a "Fresh Start"

  • Fossen, Frank M.

    ()

    (Free University of Berlin)

A personal bankruptcy law that allows for a "fresh start" after bankruptcy reduces the individual risk involved in entrepreneurial activity. On the other hand, as risk shifts to creditors who recover less of their credit after a debtor's bankruptcy, lenders may charge higher interest rates or ration credit supply, which can hamper entrepreneurship. Both aspects of a more forgiving personal bankruptcy law are less relevant for wealthy potential entrepreneurs who still risk losing their wealth, but tend not to face higher interest rates because they provide collateral. This paper illustrates these effects in a model and tests the hypotheses derived by exploiting the introduction of a "fresh start" policy in Germany in 1999 as a natural experiment, based on representative household panel data. The results indicate that the insurance effect of a more forgiving personal bankruptcy law exceeds the interest effect and on balance encourages less wealthy individuals to enter into entrepreneurship.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5459.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5459
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  1. Caliendo, Marco & Fossen, Frank & Kritikos, Alexander, 2010. "The impact of risk attitudes on entrepreneurial survival," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 45-63, October.
  2. Caliendo, Marco & Fossen, Frank M. & Kritikos, Alexander S., 2006. "Risk Attitudes of Nascent Entrepreneurs: New Evidence from an Experimentally-Validated Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 2168, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Juergen Schupp & Gert Wagner, 2005. "Individual Risk Attitudes: New Evidence from a Large, Representative, Experimentally-Validated Survey," Working Papers 2096, The Field Experiments Website.
  4. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2002. "Alternative approaches to evaluation in empirical microeconomics," CeMMAP working papers CWP10/02, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Sumit Agarwal & Souphala Chomsisengphet & Chunlin Liu & Lawrence Mielnicki, 2005. "Impact of State Exemption Laws on Small Business Bankruptcy Decision," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 620-635, January.
  6. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
  7. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-38, February.
  8. Reint Gropp & John Karl Scholz & Michelle White, 1996. "Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand," NBER Working Papers 5653, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:feb:framed:0019 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  11. Césaire A. Meh & Yaz Terajima, 2008. "Unsecured Debt, Consumer Bankruptcy, and Small Business," Working Papers 08-5, Bank of Canada.
  12. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. John Armour & Douglas Cumming, 2005. "Bankruptcy Law and Entrepreneurship," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp300, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  14. Julian R. Franks & Kjell G. Nyborg & Walter N. Torous, 1996. "A Comparison of UK, US and German Insolvency Codes," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 25(3), Fall.
  15. Frank M. Fossen, 2009. "Would a Flat-Rate Tax Stimulate Entrepreneurship in Germany? A Behavioural Microsimulation Analysis Allowing for Risk," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(2), pages 179-218, 06.
  16. Mankart, Jochen & Rodano, Giacomo, 2012. "Bankruptcy Law, Debt Portfolios, and Entrepreneurship," Economics Working Paper Series 1216, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
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