Can Strong Creditors Inhibit Entrepreneurial Activity?
51 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2016 Last revised: 30 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 20, 2019
We examine startup entry and exit activity following the staggered adoption of modern- day fraudulent transfer laws in the United States. These laws strengthen unsecured creditors’ rights and are particularly important for entrepreneurs whose personal assets commingle with the firm’s. Using administrative data from the U.S. Census Bureau, we document declines in startup entry, churning among entrants, and closures of existing firms after these laws pass. Firm financial data shows that entrepreneurs lower leverage by reducing unsecured credit. Our results suggest that excessive creditor rights can reduce entrepreneurs’ appetite for risk, thereby slowing down the extensive margin process of reallocating resources from failing to new businesses.
Keywords: Creditor rights; bankruptcy; entrepreneurship; startups; reallocation; churn
JEL Classification: G21, G33, K22, L26, M13
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