Identifying Bankruptcies in German Social Security Data
Many empirical studies about firm exits point out that it is important to distinguish between different types of closures, e.g., voluntary and involuntary liquidations. This report describes how exits due to bankruptcies can be identified in the German Establishment History Panel (BHP). In contrast to other closures, bankruptcies can be unambiguously regarded as indica-tion for economic failure and can therefore be interpreted as involuntary exits.
Plant-level Employment Development before Collective Displacements: Comparing Mass Layoffs, Plant Closures, and Bankruptcies
IWH Discussion Papers,
To assess to what extent collective job displacements can be regarded as unanticipated exogenous shocks for affected employees, we analyze plant-level employment patterns before bankruptcy, plant closure without bankruptcy, and mass layoff. Utilizing administrative data covering all West German private sector plants, we find no systematic employment reductions prior to mass layoffs, a strong and long-lasting reduction prior to closures, and a much shorter shadow of death preceding bankruptcy. Our analysis of worker flows underlines that bankruptcies seem to struggle for survival while closures follow a shrinking strategy. We conclude that the scope of worker anticipation of upcoming job loss is smallest for mass layoffs and largest for closures without bankruptcy.
The Effect of Personal Bankruptcy Exemptions on Investment in Home Equity
Journal of Financial Intermediation,
Homestead exemptions to personal bankruptcy allow households to retain their home equity up to a limit determined at the state level. Households that may experience bankruptcy thus have an incentive to bias their portfolios towards home equity. Using US household data for the period 1996 to 2006, we find that household demand for real estate is relatively high if the marginal investment in home equity is covered by the exemption. The home equity bias is more pronounced for younger and less healthy households that face more financial uncertainty and therefore have a higher ex ante probability of bankruptcy. These results suggest that homestead exemptions have an important bearing on the portfolio allocation of US households and the extent to which they insure against bad shocks.
Economic Failure and the Role of Plant Age and Size
Small Business Economics,
This paper introduces a large-scale administrative panel data set on corporate bankruptcy in Germany that allows for an econometric analysis of involuntary exits where previous studies mixed voluntary and involuntary exits. Approximately 83 % of all bankruptcies occur in plants with not more than 10 employees, and 61 % of all bankrupt plants are not older than 5 years. The descriptive statistics and regression analysis indicate substantial negative age dependence with respect to bankruptcy risk but confirm negative size dependence for mature plants only. Our results corroborate hypotheses stressing increasing capabilities and positional advantage, both predicting negative age dependence with respect to bankruptcy risk due to productivity improvements. The results are not consistent with the theories explaining age dependence via imprinting or structural inertia.
Was wissen wir über Betriebsschließungen? Erkenntnisse für West- und Ostdeutschland
This paper reports the results of several investigations into the determinants of company shutdowns using administrative data for Germany. We show that between 1975 and 2008, the average shutdown rate has risen considerably in western Germany. For most of the time, shutdown rates in eastern Germany were higher, but they have converged to the western level recently. The shutdown risk falls with company size and is substantially higher for young companies. Shutdown rates initially decline as companies age, reaching a minimum at ages 15 to 18, and then rise again. Companies begin to shrink several years before closure, and the remaining workforce becomes on average more skilled, more female and older in companies about to close compared to surviving ones.
Personal Bankruptcy and Credit Supply and Demand
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
This paper examines how personal bankruptcy and bankruptcy exemptions affect the supply and demand for credit. While generous state-level bankruptcy exemptions are probably viewed by most policy-makers as benefiting less-well-off borrowers, our results using data from the 1983 Survey of Consumer Finances suggest that they increase the amount of credit held by high-asset households and reduce the availability and amount of credit to low-asset households, conditioning on observable characteristics. Thus, bankruptcy exemptions redistribute credit toward borrowers with high assets. Interest rates on automobile loans for low-asset households also appear to be higher in high exemption states.