Bankruptcy Codes and Innovation

59 Pages Posted: 23 May 2008

See all articles by Viral V. Acharya

Viral V. Acharya

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Krishnamurthy Subramanian

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2007

Abstract

Do legal institutions governing financial contracts affect the nature of real investments in the economy? We develop a simple model and provide evidence that the answer to this question is yes. We consider a levered firm's choice of investment between innovative and conservative technologies, on the one hand, and of financing between debt and equity, on the other. Bankruptcy code plays a central role in these choices by determining whether the firm is continued or liquidated in case of financial distress. When the code is creditor-friendly, excessive liquidations cause the firm to shy away from innovation. In contrast, by promoting continuation upon failure, a debtor-friendly code induces greater innovation. This effect remains robust when the firm attempts to sustain innovation by reducing its debt under creditor-friendly codes.

Employing patents as a proxy for innovation, we find support for the real as well as the financial implications of the model: (1) In countries with weaker creditor rights, technologically innovative industries create disproportionately more patents and generate disproportionately more citations to these patents relative to other industries; (2) This difference of difference result is further confirmed by within-country analysis that exploits time-series changes in creditor rights, suggesting a causal effect of bankruptcy codes on innovation; (3) When creditor rights are stronger, innovative industries employ relatively less leverage compared to other industries; and (4) In countries with weaker creditor rights, technologically innovative industries grow disproportionately faster compared to other industries. Finally, while overall financial development fosters innovation, stronger creditor rights weaken this effect, especially for highly innovative industries.

Keywords: creditor rights, entrepreneurship, financial development, growth, law and finance, R&D, technological change

JEL Classification: G3, K2, O3, O4, O5

Suggested Citation

Acharya, Viral V. and Subramanian, Krishnamurthy, Bankruptcy Codes and Innovation (May 2007). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6307. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136614

Viral V. Acharya (Contact Author)

New York University - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

44 West 4th Street
Suite 9-160
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

HOME PAGE: http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~sternfin/vacharya/public_html/~vacharya.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

New York University (NYU) - Department of Finance

Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012-1126
United States

Krishnamurthy Subramanian

Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad ( email )

Hyderabad, Gachibowli 500 019
India

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