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Making Sense Of Nation-Level Bankruptcy Filing Rates, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2008

Making Sense Of Nation-Level Bankruptcy Filing Rates, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Increased rates of consumer bankruptcy filings are a policy concern around the world. It is not easy, however, to explain the variations in per capita filing rates from country to country. Some of the variation is attributable to different levels of indebtedness. Some is attributable to different cultural attitudes about financial failure. And some is attributable to the accessibility of the legal system as a remedy for irremediable financial distress.

This paper analyzes the differences in nation-level, per capita filing rates. I start with a model that uses economic variables to explain nation-level variations in filing rates. The economic and ...


Who Needs Bankruptcy Law?, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2008

Who Needs Bankruptcy Law?, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

This essay summarizes four papers: “Bargaining Around Bankruptcy: Small Business Distress and State Law,” 38 Journal of Legal Studies 255 (2009); “Bankruptcy’s Rarity: An Essay on Small Business Bankruptcy in the United States,” 5 European Company & Financial Law Review 172 (2008); “Small Business Bankruptcy and the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005,” A Report to the United States Small Business Administration (2007); and Douglas G. Baird & Edward R. Morrison, “Serial Entrepreneurs and Small Business Bankruptcies,” 105 Columbia Law Review 2310 (2005).


Bankruptcy Decision Making: An Empirical Study Of Continuation, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2007

Bankruptcy Decision Making: An Empirical Study Of Continuation, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Many small businesses attempt to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, but most are ultimately liquidated instead. Little is known about this shutdown decision. It is widely suspected that the bankruptcy process exhibits a continuation bias, allowing failing businesses to linger under the protection of the court, which resists liquidation even when it is optimal. This paper examines the shutdown decision in a sample of Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases filed in a typical bankruptcy court over the course of a year. The presence of continuation bias is tested along several dimensions – the extent of managerial control ...


Timbers Of Inwood Forest, The Economics Of Rent, And The Evolving Dynamics Of Chapter 11, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2007

Timbers Of Inwood Forest, The Economics Of Rent, And The Evolving Dynamics Of Chapter 11, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

The Supreme Court's decision in Timbers of Inwood Forest occupies an unhappy position in bankruptcy case law. It is often remembered as a troubled interpretation of the Code, denying undersecured creditors compensation for an important source of depreciation – depreciation in the real value of a creditor's claim during a lengthy reorganization process. But Timbers was not a simple case in which a bank was denied adequate protection for lost investment opportunities. It was instead a case in which the bank tried to opt out of the bankruptcy process itself. The debtor was an apartment complex. After it entered ...


Making Sense Of Nation-Level Bankruptcy Filing Rates, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2007

Making Sense Of Nation-Level Bankruptcy Filing Rates, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Increased rates of consumer bankruptcy filings are a policy concern around the world. It is not easy, however, to explain the variations in per capita filing rates from country to country. Some of the variation is attributable to different levels of indebtedness. Some is attributable to different cultural attitudes about financial failure. And some is attributable to the accessibility of the legal system as a remedy for irremediable financial distress.

This paper analyzes the differences in nation-level, per capita filing rates. I start with a model that uses economic variables to explain nation-level variations in filing rates. The economic and ...


Financial Contracts And The New Bankruptcy Code: Insulating Markets From Bankrupt Debtors And Bankruptcy Judges, Edward R. Morrison, Joerg Riegel Jan 2006

Financial Contracts And The New Bankruptcy Code: Insulating Markets From Bankrupt Debtors And Bankruptcy Judges, Edward R. Morrison, Joerg Riegel

Faculty Scholarship

The reforms of 2005 yield important but subtle changes in the Bankruptcy Code's treatment of financial contracts. They might appear only to eliminate longstanding uncertainty surrounding the protections available to financial contract counterparties, especially counterparties to repurchase transactions and other derivative contracts. But the ambit of the reforms is much broader. The expanded definitions – especially the definition of "swap agreement" – are now so broad that nearly every derivative contract is subject to the Code's protection. Instead of protecting particular counterparties to particular transactions, the Code now protects any counterparty to any derivative contract. Entire markets have been insulated ...


Bankruptcy Decisionmaking: An Empirical Study Of Continuation Bias In Small-Business Bankruptcies, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2006

Bankruptcy Decisionmaking: An Empirical Study Of Continuation Bias In Small-Business Bankruptcies, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Over half of all small businesses reorganizing under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code are ultimately liquidated. Little is known about this shutdown decision and about the factors that increase or reduce the amount of time a firm spends in bankruptcy. It is widely suspected, however, that the Chapter 11 process exhibits a "continuation bias," allowing non-viable firms to linger under the protection of the court. This paper tests for the presence of continuation bias in the docket of a typical bankruptcy court over the course of a calendar year. A variety of tests are employed, including the ...


Optimizing Consumer Credit Markets And Bankruptcy Policy, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

Optimizing Consumer Credit Markets And Bankruptcy Policy, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This Article explores the relationship between consumer credit markets and bankruptcy policy. In general, I argue that the causative relationships running between borrowing and bankruptcy compel a new strategy for policing the conduct of lenders and borrowers in modern consumer credit markets. The strategy must be sensitive to the role of the credit card in lending markets and must recognize that both issuers and cardholders are well placed to respond to the increased levels of spending and indebtedness. In the latter parts of the Article, I recommend mandatory minimum payment requirements, a tax on distressed credit card debt, and the ...


The Supreme Court, The Solicitor General, And Bankruptcy: Bfp V. Resolution Trust Corporation, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

The Supreme Court, The Solicitor General, And Bankruptcy: Bfp V. Resolution Trust Corporation, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter tells the story behind BFP v. Resolution Trust Corporation. I see BFP as a case that pitted relatively plain statutory language supporting the debtor-in-possession against policy interests supporting a secured creditor. I argue that an important explanation for the Supreme Court's decision to favor policy over the language of the statute was its perception of a need to protect the availability of non-bankruptcy remedies for secured creditors. Accordingly, I situate my discussion of BFP in the context of the role that the federal government has played in the Supreme Court's cases interpreting the Bankruptcy Code. In ...


Credit Cards, Consumer Credit, And Bankruptcy, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

Credit Cards, Consumer Credit, And Bankruptcy, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper analyzes the effects of credit card use on broader economic indicators, specifically consumer credit, and consumer bankruptcy filings. Using aggregate nation-level data from Australia, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, I find that credit card spending, lagged by 1-2 years, has a strong positive effect on consumer credit. Finally, I find a strong relation between credit card debt, lagged by 1-2 years, and bankruptcy, and a weaker relation between consumer credit, lagged by 1-2 years, and bankruptcy. The relations are robust across a variety of different lags and models that account for problems of multicollinearity ...


Optimizing Consumer Credit Markets And Bankruptcy Policy, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

Optimizing Consumer Credit Markets And Bankruptcy Policy, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This article explores the relationship between consumer credit markets and bankruptcy policy. In general, I argue that the causative relationships running between borrowing and bankruptcy compel a new strategy for policing the conduct of lenders and borrowers in modern consumer credit markets. The strategy must be sensitive to the role of the credit card in lending markets and must recognize that both issuers and cardholders are well placed to respond to the increased levels of spending and indebtedness. In the latter parts of the article, I recommend mandatory minimum payment requirements, a tax on distressed credit card debt, and the ...


Bankruptcy Reform And The "Sweat Box" Of Credit Card Debt, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

Bankruptcy Reform And The "Sweat Box" Of Credit Card Debt, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Those that backed the 2005 bankruptcy reform law argued that it would protect creditors from consumer abuse and lack of financial responsibility. The substantial increase in the number of bankruptcies over the last decade combined with the perception of system-wide abuse apparently convinced legislators from both political parties that the backers had a point. Thus, Congress enacted amendments to the Bankruptcy Code that – if effective – would fundamentally change the core policies underlying the consumer bankruptcy system in this country. The rhetoric surrounding the reform debates pressed the idea that if borrowers had to repay more of their debts, creditors would ...


"Contracting" For Credit, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2006

"Contracting" For Credit, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

On a recent day, I used my credit cards in connection with a number of minor transactions. I made eight purchases, and I paid two credit card bills. I also discarded (without opening) three solicitations for new cards, balance transfer programs, or other similar offers to extend credit via a credit card. Statistics suggest that I am not atypical. U.S. consumers last year used credit cards in about 100 purchasing transactions per capita, with an average value of about $70. At the end of the year, Americans owed nearly $500 billion dollars, in the range of $1,800 for ...


How Law Affects Lending, Rainer F.H. Haselmann, Katharina Pistor, Vikrant Vig Jan 2005

How Law Affects Lending, Rainer F.H. Haselmann, Katharina Pistor, Vikrant Vig

Faculty Scholarship

The paper explores how legal change affects lending behavior of banks in twelve transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe. In contrast to previous studies, we use bank level rather than aggregate data, which allows us to control for country level heterogeneity and analyze the effect of legal change on different types of lenders. Using a differences-in-differences methodology to analyze the within country variation of changes in creditor rights protection, we find that the credit supplied by banks increases subsequent to legal change. Further, we show that collateral law matters more for credit market development than bankruptcy law. We also ...


An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High-Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2005

An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High-Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper compares a dataset of failed venture-backed firms to information about the firm's liquidation choices. The first finding is that firms in California are much less likely to use the bankruptcy process than firms in other states, largely because of their ability to use a cheaper and less formal assignment for the benefit of creditors procedure. The paper explores a number of reasons why that procedure succeeds in California more than it does elsewhere, including differences in statutory support for the procedure, the sophistication of market participants in California, the close-knit venture communities in California, and unusual rules ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Chapter 11 is thought to preserve the going-concern surplus of a financially distressed business – the extra value that its assets possess in their current configuration. Financial distress leads to conflicts among creditors that can lead to inefficient liquidation of a business with going-concern surplus. Chapter 11 avoids this by providing the business with a way of fashioning a new capital structure. This account of Chapter 11 fails to capture what is happening in the typical case. The typical Chapter 11 debtor is a small corporation whose assets are not specialized and rarely worth enough to pay tax claims. There is ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

This empirical study suggests that, far from ensuring assets are put to their best use, Chapter 11 encourages small-business entrepreneurs to remain too long with failed businesses before trying to start (or work for) new ones. Small entrepreneurs open and close a number of businesses over the course of their careers as they search for the business (or employer) that offers the best match with their skills. Chapter 11 delays this matching process and, over this dimension, differs little from rent control and other government policies that encourage socially wasteful lock-in of scarce resources. These costs may not be large ...


Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2005

Serial Entrepreneurs And Small Business Bankruptcies, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Chapter 11 is thought to preserve the going-concern surplus of a financially distressed business – the extra value that its assets possess in their current configuration. Financial distress leads to conflicts among creditors that can lead to inefficient liquidation of a business with going-concern surplus. Chapter 11 avoids this by providing the business with a way of fashioning a new capital structure. This account of Chapter 11 fails to capture what is happening in the typical case. The typical Chapter 11 debtor is a small corporation whose assets are not specialized and rarely worth enough to pay tax claims. There is ...


Derivatives And The Bankruptcy Code: Why The Special Treatment?, Franklin R. Edwards, Edward R. Morrison Jan 2004

Derivatives And The Bankruptcy Code: Why The Special Treatment?, Franklin R. Edwards, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

The collapse of Long Term Capital Management (LTCM) in Fall 1998 and the Federal Reserve Bank's subsequent efforts to orchestrate a bailout raise important questions about the structure of the Bankruptcy Code. The Code contains numerous provisions affording special treatment to financial derivatives contracts, the most important of which exempts these contracts from the "automatic stay" and permits counterparties to terminate derivatives contracts with a debtor in bankruptcy and seize underlying collateral. No other counterparty or creditor of the debtor has such freedom; to the contrary, the automatic stay prohibits them from undertaking any act that threatens the debtor ...


Credit Card Policy In A Globalized World, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2004

Credit Card Policy In A Globalized World, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This paper relies on data from countries around the world to present a comprehensive analysis of policy issues related to credit cards. The first part discusses the rise of credit cards and debit cards and how their uses differ from country to country. It closes with a framework for explaining why cards are more and less successful in different countries, focusing in large part on the ready availability of detailed consumer credit information. The second part considers the relation between credit card use and bankruptcy. Relying on a time series of data from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and ...


An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2004

An Empirical Investigation Of Liquidation Choices Of Failed High Tech Firms, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

Perhaps it is merely a reflection of my interests, but to my mind, empirical research requires a certain risk-preferent boldness. I like projects that explore how and why particular businesses make important decisions. After I identify a topic, I typically try to gather as much qualitative and quantitative information about it as I can, with the expectation that when I have learned a great deal about the topic something interesting will emerge that relates in some important way to an ongoing academic debate. Those projects usually do not begin with a specific hypothesis to prove or disprove-often either answer will ...


The Rise Of State Bankruptcy-Directed Legislation, Ronald J. Mann Jan 2003

The Rise Of State Bankruptcy-Directed Legislation, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

This is a paper for a conference at Cardozo Law School on the relation between securitization and secured credit. Concerns about securitization have been focused by decisions of various States to take the lead in attempting to decide how those issues will be resolved in bankruptcy proceedings. In this paper I step back from that debate to ask a more fundamental question: who is to decide the appropriate policy response to those issues? On the one hand, Congress could decide those questions in the exercise of its exclusive constitutional power to enact bankruptcy laws. Or, if it chose to do ...


Optimal Timing And Legal Decisionmaking: The Case Of The Liquidation Decision In Bankruptcy, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison Jan 1999

Optimal Timing And Legal Decisionmaking: The Case Of The Liquidation Decision In Bankruptcy, Douglas G. Baird, Edward R. Morrison

Faculty Scholarship

Until the firm is sold or a plan of reorganization is confirmed, Chapter 11 entrusts a judge with the decision of whether to keep a firm as a going concern or to shut it down. The judge revisits this liquidation decision multiple times. The key is to make the correct decision at the optimal time. This paper models this decision as the exercise of a real option and shows that it depends critically on particular types of information about the firm and its industry. Liquidations take place too soon if we merely compare the liquidation value of the assets with ...


Strategy And Force In The Liquidation Of Secured Debt, Ronald J. Mann Jan 1997

Strategy And Force In The Liquidation Of Secured Debt, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

The question of why parties use secured debt is one of the most fundamental questions in commercial finance. The commonplace answer focuses on force: A grant of collateral to a lender enhances the lender's ability to collect its debt by enhancing the lender's ability to take possession of the collateral by force and sell it to satisfy the debt. That perspective draws considerable support from the design of the major legal institutions that support secured debt: Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and the less uniform state laws regarding real estate mortgages.

Both of those institutions are ...


The Truth About Secured Financing, Robert E. Scott Jan 1997

The Truth About Secured Financing, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

The debate over the social value of secured credit (and the appropriate priority for secured claims in bankruptcy) is entering its nineteenth year. Yet the continuing publication of succeeding generations of articles exploring the topic have yielded precious little in the way of an emerging scholarly consensus about the nature and function of secured credit. Put simply, we still do not have a theory, of finance that explains why firms sometimes (but not always) issue secured debt rather than unsecured debt or equity. Moreover (and perhaps because of the lack of any plausible general theory), we lack any persuasive empirical ...


Bankruptcy And The Entitlements Of The Government: Whose Money Is It Anyway?, Ronald J. Mann Jan 1995

Bankruptcy And The Entitlements Of The Government: Whose Money Is It Anyway?, Ronald J. Mann

Faculty Scholarship

A debate between two groups of scholars has dominated bankruptcy scholarship for the past decade. The first group, often referred to as the creditors' bargain theorists, argues that creditors' agreements with debtors create entitlements to payment the proper role of the bankruptcy system, therefore should be to benefit creditors by enforcing rules to which creditors would have agreed before bankruptcy. The second group of scholars contends that the goals of the bankruptcy system should not be limited to the interests of creditors. Instead, they maintain that the bankruptcy system, as a part of our country's wider system of social ...


Bondholder Coercion: The Problem Of Constrained Choice In Debt Tender Offers And Recapitalizations, John C. Coffee Jr., William A. Klein Jan 1991

Bondholder Coercion: The Problem Of Constrained Choice In Debt Tender Offers And Recapitalizations, John C. Coffee Jr., William A. Klein

Faculty Scholarship

The past decade saw the flourishing of risky, high-yield corporate debt, often called "junk" bonds. Too many companies took on too much debt, and the chickens are now coming home to roost as these bonds have begun to default with increasing frequency.The magnitude of the problem is potentially enormous; by one estimate, $318 billion of debt has either defaulted already or trades at yields indicating the market's skepticism that it will be repaid on maturity.

Facing the prospect of default, corporate issuers are seeking to restructure or recapitalize their financial structures at a correspondingly increased pace. The market ...


Sharing The Risks Of Bankruptcy: Timbers, Ahlers, And Beyond, Robert E. Scott Jan 1989

Sharing The Risks Of Bankruptcy: Timbers, Ahlers, And Beyond, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Bankruptcy policy appears to be in disarray. Recent decisions by the United States Supreme Court have only served to reinforce the uncertainties that mar the bankruptcy process. In United Savings Association of Texas v. Timbers of Inwood Forest Associates, Ltd., the Court held that an undersecured creditor was not entitled to interest on its collateral as compensation for the opportunity costs of delay caused by the bankruptcy process. Timbers thus supports the argument that secured creditors should be forced to share the burdens of bankruptcy with other claimants. Conversely, in Norwest Bank Worthington v. Ahlers, the Court held that the ...


On The Nature Of Bankruptcy: An Essay Of Bankruptcy Sharing And The Creditor's Bargain, Thomas H. Jackson, Robert E. Scott Jan 1989

On The Nature Of Bankruptcy: An Essay Of Bankruptcy Sharing And The Creditor's Bargain, Thomas H. Jackson, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Finance theorists have long recognized that bankruptcy is a key component in any general theory of the capital structure of business entities. Legal theorists have been similarly sensitive to the substantial allocational and distributional effects of the bankruptcy law. Nevertheless, until recently, underlying justifications for the bankruptcy process have not been widely studied. Bankruptcy scholars have been content to recite, without critical analysis, the two normative objectives of bankruptcy: rehabilitation of overburdened debtors and equality of treatment for creditors and other claimants.

The developing academic interest in legal theory has spurred a corresponding interest in expanding the theoretical foundations of ...


Through Bankruptcy With The Creditors' Bargain Heuristic, Robert E. Scott Jan 1986

Through Bankruptcy With The Creditors' Bargain Heuristic, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

It is a commonplace, but nonetheless true: the study of bankruptcy has attained a new respectability in American law schools. After years of modest enrollments and few genuine scholarly contributions, bankruptcy courses are now fully subscribed and many young academics are turning their attention to the technical complexities and conceptual underpinnings of modern bankruptcy law. A number of factors contribute to this new-found glamour. Most obviously, the enactment of the new Bankruptcy Code has fueled scholarly interest in reporting its modifications and changes and in exploring its theoretical unity. Simultaneously, there has been increasing resort to the bankruptcy process to ...