Personal Bankruptcy and the Level of Entrepreneurial Activity
The U.S. personal bankruptcy system functions as a bankruptcy system for small businesses as well as for consumers. When firms are non-corporate, debts of the firm are personal liabilities of the entrepreneur/owner. If the firm fails, the entrepreneur has an incentive to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, since both business debts and the entrepreneur's personal debts will be discharged. The entrepreneur must give up assets above a fixed bankruptcy exemption level for repayment to creditors, but future earnings are entirely exempt. Exemption levels are set by the states and they vary widely. We show that higher bankruptcy exemption levels benefit potential entrepreneurs by providing partial wealth insurance. The predicted relationship between the probability of owning a business and the exemption level is positive at low exemption levels, but may be either positive or negative at high exemption levels, depending on whether higher bankruptcy costs outweigh the gain from additional insurance. We test this prediction and find that the probability of families who are homeowners being self-employed is 35% higher if families live in states with unlimited exemptions rather than low exemptions. We also find evidence that families who are homeowners are more likely to start businesses and to organize their businesses as non-corporate rather than corporate if they live in states with high or unlimited, rather than low, bankruptcy exemptions.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2001|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 3301 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, 3620 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104.6367|
Web page: http://fic.wharton.upenn.edu/fic/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thomas Dunn & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1996. "Financial Capital, Human Capital, and the Transition to Self-Employment:Evidence from Intergenerational Links," NBER Working Papers 5622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stanley D. Longhofer, 1997. "Absolute priority rule violations, credit rationing, and efficiency," Working Paper 9710, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
- Evans, David S & Leighton, Linda S, 1989. "Some Empirical Aspects of Entrepreneurship," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 519-35, June.
- 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.
- 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 808-27, August.
- Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993.
"Sticking it Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints,"
NBER Working Papers
4494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- 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.).
- Wang, H.J. & White, M., 1998.
"An Optimal Personal Bankruptcy Procedure and Proposed Reform,"
98-07, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- 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 255-86, January.
- 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 719-48, August.
- Longhofer, Stanley D., 1997. "Absolute Priority Rule Violations, Credit Rationing, and Efficiency," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 249-267, July.
- 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.
- Rea, Samuel A, Jr, 1984. "Arm-breaking, Consumer Credit and Personal Bankruptcy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 22(2), pages 188-208, April.
- 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.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:pennin:01-11. 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: (Thomas Krichel)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.