Debt Enforcement Around the World

Debt Enforcement Around the World

Simeon Djankov, Oliver Hart, Caralee McLiesh, Andrei Shleifer

Series number :

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Date posted :

January 01 2007

Last revised :

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  • Bankruptcy • 
  • legal origins

We present insolvency practitioners from 88 countries with an identical case of a hotel about to default on its debt, and ask them to describe in detail how debt enforcement against this hotel will proceed in their countries.

We use the data on time, cost, and the likely disposition of the assets (preservation as a going concern versus piecemeal sale) to construct a measure of the efficiency of debt enforcement in each country. We identify several characteristics of debt enforcement procedures, such as the structure of appeals and availability of floating charge finance, that influence efficiency. Our measure of efficiency of debt enforcement is strongly correlated with per capita income and legal origin and predicts debt market development across countries. Interestingly, it is also highly correlated with measures of the quality of contract enforcement and public regulation obtained in other studies.


Real name:
Simeon Djankov
Real name:
Fellow, Research Member
Department of Economics, Harvard University
Real name:
Caralee McLiesh