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Bankruptcy laws around Europe (1850-2015): institutional change and institutional features

Di Martino, Paolo, Latham, Mark and Vasta, Michelangelo 2020. Bankruptcy laws around Europe (1850-2015): institutional change and institutional features. Enterprise and Society , p. 1. 10.1017/eso.2019.46

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Despite the relevance of bankruptcy law for a number of key issues regarding business functioning and organization, little is known about the features and evolution of these legal institutions over time and space. This paper starts to fill this gap in current knowledge by analyzing a new data set providing consistent information about key features of bankruptcy law between 1850 and 2015 in the thirty largest European economies. Regarding institutional change, our analysis supports the established view of a link between macroeconomic changes and the introduction of procedures alternative to bankruptcy. However, this process shows significant differences at the national level, making it difficult to support the idea of change as the result of belonging to a given legal system (French; common law; Scandinavia; Germanic), or the degree of economic development. Instead, change in bankruptcy institutions seems to be a product of, and contributor to, the wider process of individual state formation. Similarly, the features of bankruptcy procedures seem to confirm this picture: Looking at their possible outcomes, the right to begin proceedings, and degree of application to different types of debtors, national differences appear deep and persistent, despite a generalized pattern of convergence over time toward a less punitive approach to bankruptcy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1467-2227
Funders: Leverhulme Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 March 2020
Date of Acceptance: 20 February 2020
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 00:02

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