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Resolution of corporate distress - evidence from East Asia's financial crisis


  • Claessens, Stijn
  • Djankov, Simeon
  • Klapper, Leora


The widespread financial crisis in East Asia caused large economic shocks, which varied by degree across the region. That crisis provides a unique opportunity for investigating the factors that determine the use of bankruptcy processes in a number of economies. The authors study the use of bankruptcy in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan (China), and Thailand. These economies differ in their institutional frameworks for resolving financial distress, partly because of the different origins of their judicial systems. One difference is the strength of creditor rights, which the authors document. They expect that differences in legal enforcement and judicial efficiency should affect the resolution of financial distress. Using a sample of 4,569 publicly traded East Asian firms, they observe a total of 106 bankruptcies in 1997 and 1998. They find that: 1) The likelihood of filing for bankruptcy is lower for firms with ownership links to banks and families, controlling for firm and country characteristics. 2) Filings are more likely in countries with better judicial systems. 3) Filings are more likely where there are both strong creditor rights and a good judicial system. These results alone do not allow the authors to address whether increased use of bankruptcy is an efficient resolution mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Klapper, Leora, 1999. "Resolution of corporate distress - evidence from East Asia's financial crisis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2133, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2133

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. La Porta, Rafael & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. " Legal Determinants of External Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(3), pages 1131-1150, July.
    2. Stijn Claessens & Leora F. Klapper, 2005. "Bankruptcy around the World: Explanations of Its Relative Use," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 253-283.
    3. Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1995. " What Do We Know about Capital Structure? Some Evidence from International Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1421-1460, December.
    4. Gilson, Stuart C., 1989. "Management turnover and financial distress," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 241-262, December.
    5. Stijn Claessens & Simeon Djankov & Joseph P. H. Fan & Larry H. P. Lang, 2002. "Disentangling the Incentive and Entrenchment Effects of Large Shareholdings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 57(6), pages 2741-2771, December.
    6. repec:hrv:faseco:30728041 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. White, Michelle J, 1994. "Corporate Bankruptcy as a Filtering Device: Chapter 11 Reorganizations and Out-of-Court Debt Restructurings," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 268-295, October.
    8. White, Michelle J, 1989. "The Corporate Bankruptcy Decision," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 129-151, Spring.
    9. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Lang, Larry H. P., 2000. "The separation of ownership and control in East Asian Corporations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1-2), pages 81-112.
    10. Prowse, Stephen D, 1992. " The Structure of Corporate Ownership in Japan," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 1121-1140, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Beck, Thorsten & Laeven, Luc, 2006. "Resolution of failed banks by deposit insurers : cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3920, The World Bank.
    2. Laurent Vilanova, 2002. "Risque juridique et rôle des banques dans le gouvernement des entreprises," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 5(4), pages 137-175, December.
    3. Claessens, Stijn & Djankov, Simeon & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2000. "Corporate Performance in the East Asian Financial Crisis," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(1), pages 23-46, February.
    4. Stijn Claessens & Simeon Djankov & Leora Klapper1, 2000. "The Role And Functioning Of Business Groups In East Asia And Chile," Abante, Escuela de Administracion. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 3(1), pages 91-107.
    5. Kristin Forbes, 2000. "The Asian Flu and Russian Virus: Firm-level Evidence on How Crises are Transmitted Internationally," NBER Working Papers 7807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Glenn Hoggarth & Jack Reidhill & Peter Sinclair, 2004. "On the resolution of banking crises: theory and evidence," Bank of England working papers 229, Bank of England.
    7. Wihlborg, Clas, 2002. "Insolvency and Debt Recovery Procedures in Economic Development: An Overview of African Law," WIDER Working Paper Series 027, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Agustinus, Prasetyantoko, 2007. "Corporate Responses to Currency Depreciations: Evidence from Indonesia," MPRA Paper 6502, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Ko, Hin-cheung Annie & Tong, Yixing (Jamie) & Zhang, Feida (Frank) & Zheng, Guojian, 2016. "Corporate governance, product market competition and managerial incentives: Evidence from four Pacific Basin countries," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 491-502.


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