Bankruptcy Costs and the Design of Preventive Restructuring Procedures

58 Pages Posted: 6 May 2021

See all articles by Anne Epaulard

Anne Epaulard

Université Paris IX Dauphine

Chloé Zapha

Banque de France; Université Paris Dauphine

Date Written: April 2021


A European directive requires Member States to give firms access to preventive restructuring
procedures. This paper assesses the interest of a procedure distinct from that for insolvent firms. It
is based on the French experience, where a preventive procedure has coexisted with the more
common restructuring procedure since 2006. The spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the
Commercial Courts' decisions allows the identification of the causal impact of the conversion from
the preventive procedure to the common one on the firm's survival chances. Using an (almost)
exhaustive sample of preventive bankruptcy fillings over 2010-2016, we show that conversion
reduces the probability of firm survival by 50 p.p., which corresponds to indirect bankruptcy costs
of around 20% of the firm assets. Our interpretation is that the low restructuring rate under the
common bankruptcy procedure may alarm some of the firm's stakeholders, especially its customers.
This in turn aggravates the firm's difficulties and reduces its chances of restructuring under the
common procedure. We provide some empirical evidence to support this interpretation. A distinct
preventive procedure helps prevent this spiral.3

Keywords: Corporate Bankruptcy; Costs of Bankruptcy; Law and Economics; Preventive Restructuring.

JEL Classification: G33, K22

Suggested Citation

Epaulard, Anne and Zapha, Chloé, Bankruptcy Costs and the Design of Preventive Restructuring Procedures (April 2021). Banque de France Working Paper No. 810, Université Paris-Dauphine Research Paper No. 3840236, Available at SSRN: or

Anne Epaulard

Université Paris IX Dauphine ( email )

223 Rue Saint-Honore
Paris, 75775

Chloé Zapha (Contact Author)

Banque de France ( email )


Université Paris Dauphine ( email )

Place du Maréchal de Tassigny
Paris, Cedex 16 75775

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