IWH Bankruptcy Research
IWH Bankruptcy Research The Bankruptcy Research Unit of the Halle Institute for...
The Impact of Delay: Evidence from Formal out-of-Court Restructuring
Journal of Corporate Finance,
Different types of bankruptcy restructuring procedures are used in most legal systems to decide the fate of businesses facing financial hardship. We study how bargaining failures in an under-researched type of restructuring procedure, a formal out-of-the court procedure impacts the economic performance of participating firms. Croatia introduced a “pre-bankruptcy settlement” (PBS) process in the wake of the Great Recession of 2007–2009. A novel dataset provides us with annual financial statements for both sides of more than 180,000 debtor–creditor pairs, enabling us to address selection into failed negotiations by matching a rich set of creditor and debtor characteristics. Failures to settle at the PBS stage due to idiosyncratic bargaining problems, which effectively delay entry into the standard bankruptcy procedure, lead to a lower rate of survival among debtors as well as reduced employment, revenue, and profits. We are the first study to track how bargaining failures diffuse through the network of creditors, finding a significant negative effect on small creditors, but not others. Our results highlight the impact of delay and the importance of structuring bankruptcy procedures, to rapidly resolve uncertainty about firms’ future prospects.
The CompNet Competitiveness Database The Competitiveness Research Network (CompNet)...
COVID-19 Financial Aid and Productivity: Has Support Been Well Spent?
Most European Union countries have made good progress with vaccinating their populations against COVID-19 and are now seeing a rebound in economic activity. While the scarring effects of the crisis and the long-term implications of the pandemic are only partially understood, the effects of support given to firms can be evaluated in order to help plan the removal of crisis support. An analysis of France, Germany and Italy shows the potential for ‘cleansing effects’ in that it was the least-productive firms that have been affected most by the crisis. While support was generally not targeted at protecting good firms only, financial support went by and large to those with the capacity to survive and succeed. Labour schemes have been effective in protecting employment.
Public Bank Guarantees and Allocative Efficiency
Journal of Monetary Economics,
A natural experiment and matched bank/firm data are used to identify the effects of bank guarantees on allocative efficiency. We find that with guarantees in place unproductive firms receive larger loans, invest more, and maintain higher rates of sales and wage growth. Moreover, firms produce less productively. Firms also survive longer in banks’ portfolios and those that enter guaranteed banks’ portfolios are less profitable and productive. Finally, we observe fewer economy-wide firm exits and bankruptcy filings in the presence of guarantees. Overall, the results are consistent with the idea that guaranteed banks keep unproductive firms in business for too long.
Trade, Misallocation, and Capital Market Integration
IWH-CompNet Discussion Papers,
I study how cross-country capital market integration affects the gains from trade in a model with financial frictions and heterogeneous, forward-looking firms. The model predicts that misallocation among exporters increases as trade barriers fall, even as misallocation decreases in the aggregate. The reason is that financially constrained productive exporters increase their production only marginally, while unproductive exporters survive for longer and increase their size. Allowing capital inflows magnifies misallocation, because unproductive firms expand even more, leading to a decline in aggregate productivity. Nevertheless, under integrated capital markets, access to cheaper capital dominates the adverse effect on productivity, leading to higher output, consumption and welfare than under closed capital markets. Applied to the period of European integration between 1992 and 2008, I find that underdeveloped sectors experiencing higher export exposure had more misallocation of capital and a higher share of unproductive firms, thus the data is consistent with the model’s predictions. A key implication of the model is that TFP is a poor proxy for consumption growth after trade liberalisation.
Enforcement of Banking Regulation and the Cost of Borrowing
Journal of Banking and Finance,
We show that borrowing firms benefit substantially from important enforcement actions issued on U.S. banks for safety and soundness reasons. Using hand-collected data on such actions from the main three U.S. regulators and syndicated loan deals over the years 1997–2014, we find that enforcement actions decrease the total cost of borrowing by approximately 22 basis points (or $4.6 million interest for the average loan). We attribute our finding to a competition-reputation effect that works over and above the lower risk of punished banks post-enforcement and survives in a number of sensitivity tests. We also find that this effect persists for approximately four years post-enforcement.
Taken by Storm: Business Financing and Survival in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
Journal of Economic Geography,
We use Hurricane Katrina’s damage to the Mississippi coast in 2005 as a natural experiment to study business survival in the aftermath of a capital-destruction shock. We find very low survival rates for businesses that incurred physical damage, particularly for small firms and less-productive establishments. Conditional on survival, larger and more-productive businesses that rebuilt their operations hired more workers than their smaller and less-productive counterparts. Auxiliary evidence from the Survey of Business Owners suggests that the differential size effect is tied to the presence of financial constraints, pointing to a socially inefficient level of exits and to distortions of allocative efficiency in response to this negative shock. Over time, the size advantage disappeared and market mechanisms seem to prevail.