Ed Morrison (Columbia) recently circulated a paper that will surely interest those partial to bankruptcy scholarship. From the abstract:
"In the United States, few failing businesses invoke the Bankruptcy Code to reorganize or liquidate. Most use non-bankruptcy procedures to accomplish the same purposes. These procedures include voluntary agreements between the debtor and its creditors (workouts) and formal devices such as friendly foreclosures, bulk sales, and assignments for the benefit of creditors. This paper documents the importance of non-bankruptcy procedures using firm-level data from Cook County, Illinois. I find that these procedures are used by eighty percent of distressed small businesses. ... These findings suggest that federal bankruptcy reforms, such as the Bankruptcy Abuse and Protection Act of 2005, will have two effects on distressed small businesses: They will impact outcomes in federal courts (intensive margin) as well as the debtor's choice between bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy procedures (extensive margin). Variation along the extensive margin can neutralize reforms in federal law, as when a reform designed to protect unsecured creditors raises the cost of federal law and induces businesses to use cheaper non-bankruptcy procedures instead."