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Optimal Debt Design and the Role of Bankruptcy

Author

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  • Ernst-Ludwig VON THADDEN
  • Erik BERGLÖF
  • Gérard ROLAND

Abstract

This paper integrates the problem of designing corporate bankruptcy rules into a theory of optimal debt structure. We show that, in an incomplete-contracts framework with imperfect renegotiation, having multiple creditors increases a firm's debt capacity while increasing its incentives to default strategically. The optimal debt contract gives creditors claims that are jointly inconsistent in case of default. Bankruptcy rules, therefore, are a necessary part of the overall financing contract, to make claims consistent and to prevent a value reducing run for the assets of the firm. It is not optimal to treat creditors asymmetrically in default, but creditors may be protected by different security rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernst-Ludwig VON THADDEN & Erik BERGLÖF & Gérard ROLAND, 2003. "Optimal Debt Design and the Role of Bankruptcy," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 03.13, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  • Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:03.13
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    File URL: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/textes/03.13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lambert-Mogiliansky, Ariane & Sonin, Konstantin & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2007. "Are Russian commercial courts biased? Evidence from a bankruptcy law transplant," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 254-277, June.
    2. Julian Franks & Oren Sussman, 2005. "Financial Distress and Bank Restructuring of Small to Medium Size UK Companies," Review of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 65-96, March.
    3. Lambert-Mogiliansky, Ariane & Sonin, Konstantin & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2006. "Are Russian Commercial Courts Biased? Evidence from a Natural Bankruptcy Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 5998, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Stefania Cosci & Valentina Meliciani, 2006. "Multiple Banking Relationships And Over-Leverage In Italian Manufacturing Firms," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 74(s1), pages 78-92, September.
    5. Franks, Julian R & Lóránth, Gyöngyi, 2005. "A Study of Inefficient Going Concerns in Bankruptcy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5035, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Gennaioli, Nicola & Rossi, Stefano, 2008. "Optimal Resolutions of Financial Distress by Contract," CEI Working Paper Series 2008-6, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. Ondøej Knot & Ondøej Vychodil, 2005. "What Drives the Optimal Bankruptcy Law Design? (in English)," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 55(3-4), pages 110-123, March.
    8. Acharya, Viral V. & Sundaram, Rangarajan K. & John, Kose, 2011. "Cross-country variations in capital structures: The role of bankruptcy codes," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 25-54, January.
    9. Blazy, Régis & Deffains, Bruno & Umbhauer, Gisèle & Weill, Laurent, 2013. "Severe or gentle bankruptcy law: Which impact on investing and financing decisions?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 129-144.
    10. Simeon Djankov & Oliver Hart & Caralee McLiesh & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Debt Enforcement around the World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1105-1149, December.
    11. Ondøej Knot & Ondøej Vychodil, 2006. "Czech Bankruptcy Procedures: Ex-post Efficiency View," Working Papers IES 2006/03, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, revised Jan 2006.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bankruptcy; debt structure; contracts;

    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

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