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Chapter 11

Selected Works

Jonathan C. Lipson

2009

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Shadow Bankruptcy System, Jonathan C. Lipson Jan 2009

The Shadow Bankruptcy System, Jonathan C. Lipson

Jonathan C. Lipson

This article exposes and explores a puzzle at the heart of the current economic crisis: The surprising under-use, and increasing misuse, of Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code, the principal legal system for salvaging troubled businesses.

The answer offered here: The rise of the shadow bankruptcy system. “Shadow bankruptcy” describes the severely under-regulated non-bank financial institutions (e.g., hedge funds, private equity funds and investment banks) that increasingly dominate and manipulate Chapter 11 reorganizations.

Like the “shadow banking” system for which it is named, shadow bankruptcy thrives on and promotes opacity and undisclosed, possibly perverse, incentives. Shadow bankruptcy ...