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Financial Distress, Bankruptcy Law and the Business Cycle

  • Oren Sussman
  • Javier Suarez

This paper explores the business cycle implications of financial distress and bankruptcy law. We find that due to the presence of financial imperfections the effect of liquidations on the price of capital goods can generate endogenous fluctuations. We show that a law reform that ‘softens’ bankruptcy law may increase the amplitude of the cycle in the long run. In contrast, a policy of bailing out businesses during the bust, or actively managing the interest rate across the cycle, could stabilize the economy in the long run. A comprehensive welfare analysis of the policy is provided as well.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 2004-FE-07.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2004
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:2004-fe-07
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Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
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  1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1997. "Default and Renegotiation: A Dynamic Model of Debt," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series /1997/321, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. Bolton, Patrick & Scharfstein, David S, 1996. "Optimal Debt Structure and the Number of Creditors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 1-25, February.
  4. Suarez, Javier & Sussman, Oren, 1997. "Endogenous Cycles in a Stiglitz-Weiss Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 1604, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  6. Berkovitch, Elazar & Israel, Ronen & Zender, Jaime F., 1997. "Optimal bankruptcy law and firm-specific investments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 487-497, April.
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