IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9340.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity

Author

Listed:
  • Wei Fan
  • Michelle J. White

Abstract

The U.S. personal bankruptcy system functions as a bankruptcy system for small businesses as well as consumers, because debts of non-corporate firms are personal liabilities of the firms' owners. If the firm fails, the owner has an incentive to file for bankruptcy, since both business debts and the owner's personal debts will be discharged. In bankruptcy, the owner must give up assets above a fixed exemption level. Because exemption levels are set by the states, they vary widely. We show that higher bankruptcy exemption levels benefit potential entrepreneurs who are risk averse by providing partial wealth insurance and therefore the probability of owning a business increases as the exemption level rises. We test this prediction and find that the probability of households owning businesses is 35% higher if they live in states with unlimited rather than low exemptions. We also find that the probability of starting a business and the probability of owning a corporate rather than non-corporate business are higher for households that live in high exemption states.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei Fan & Michelle J. White, 2002. "Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity," NBER Working Papers 9340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9340
    Note: CF LE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9340.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruce, Donald, 2000. "Effects of the United States tax system on transitions into self-employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 545-574, September.
    2. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
    3. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    4. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    5. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-748, August.
    6. Adler, Barry & Polak, Ben & Schwartz, Alan, 2000. "Regulating Consumer Bankruptcy: A Theoretical Inquiry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 585-613, June.
    7. Dunn, Thomas & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 2000. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment: Evidence from Intergenerational Links," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 282-305, April.
    8. David de Meza, 2002. "Overlending?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages 17-31, February.
    9. Ken Cavalluzzo & Linda Cavalluzzo & John D. Wolken, 1999. "Competition, small business financing, and discrimination: evidence from a new survey," Proceedings 757, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    10. Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-535, June.
    11. Wang, Hung-Jen & White, Michelle J, 2000. "An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reforms," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 255-286, January.
    12. Ken Cavalluzzo & Linda Cavalluzzo & John D. Wolken, 1999. "Competition, small business financing, and discrimination: evidence from a new survey," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    13. Longhofer, Stanley D., 1997. "Absolute Priority Rule Violations, Credit Rationing, and Efficiency," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 249-267, July.
    14. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    15. George J. Borjas, 1986. "The Self-Employment Experience of Immigrants," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 485-506.
    16. Jeremy Berkowitz & Michelle J. White, 2002. "Bankruptcy and Small Firms' Access to Credit," NBER Working Papers 9010, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Roger H. Gordon & Julie Berry Cullen, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 9015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Lin, Emily Y. & White, Michelle J., 2001. "Bankruptcy and the Market for Mortgage and Home Improvement Loans," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 138-162, July.
    19. R. Glenn Hubbard & William M. Gentry, 2000. "Tax Policy and Entrepreneurial Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 283-287, May.
    20. Petersen, Mitchell A & Rajan, Raghuram G, 1994. " The Benefits of Lending Relationships: Evidence from Small Business Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-37, March.
    21. Stanley D. Longhofer, 1997. "Absolute priority rule violations, credit rationing, and efficiency," Working Paper 9710, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    22. Robert W. Fairlie & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "The Ethnic and Racial Character of Self-Employment," NBER Working Papers 4791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Corradin, S. & Gropp, R. & Huizinga, H.P. & Laeven, L., 2010. "Who Invests in Home Equity to Exempt Wealth from Bankruptcy?," Discussion Paper 2010-118, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Groen, Jeffrey A. & White, Michelle J., 2004. "In-state versus out-of-state students: the divergence of interest between public universities and state governments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1793-1814, August.
    3. Jeffrey A. Groen & Michelle J. White, 2003. "In-State versus Out-of State Students: The Divergence of Interest between Public Universities and State Governments," NBER Working Papers 9603, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • K2 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:nbr:nberwo:9340. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.