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Epic Fail: An Institutional Analysis Of Financial Distress, Jonathan C. Lipson Aug 2012

Epic Fail: An Institutional Analysis Of Financial Distress, Jonathan C. Lipson

Jonathan C. Lipson

This paper presents an institutional analysis of financial distress. “Institutional analysis” compares the effectiveness of large-scale processes, such as markets, courts, and governments, at solving social problems. Although financial distress is one of our most acute problems, there has been virtually no effort to analyze it from an institutional perspective. This paper begins to fill that gap.

Institutional analysis shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, financial distress is not a problem that courts, such as bankruptcy courts, usually solve by themselves. Instead, it is increasingly a problem that political organs (whether elected or regulatory) both create and purport to resolve. …