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Working Papers (2000), ESSEC Business School

The Bankruptcy Decision: Empirical Evidence from Canada

MARTEL Jocelyn , FISCHER T.C.G.

Although the bankruptcy framework introduced in the seminal work of Bulow & Shoven, later extended by White, has been the foundation for theoretical work in the area for the last 20 years, it has never been empirically tested. The aim of the paper is to examine empirically the Bulow-Shoven-White framework using micro date on 810 bankrupt firms in Canada. Results are generally supportive of the Bulow-Shoven-White framework: the probability of reorganization increases with the level of free assets and the amount of debt reduction while it decreases with the level of unsecured debt. Results also show that the Bulow-Shoven-White framework does not provide a complete picture of the firm's bankruptcy decision. In particular, the relative size of government claims, the legal form of the firm, and the asset/debt ratio are also significant determinants of the bankruptcy decision.

MARTEL, J. and FISCHER, T.C.G. (2000). The Bankruptcy Decision: Empirical Evidence from Canada. ESSEC Business School.