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ABSTRACT

This study provides evidence that transactions costs discourage debt reductions by financially distressed firms when they restructure their debt out of court. As a result, these firms remain highly leveraged and one-in-three subsequently experience financial distress. Transactions costs are significantly smaller, hence leverage falls by more and there is less recurrence of financial distress, when firms recontract in Chapter 11. Chapter 11 therefore gives financially distressed firms more flexibility to choose optimal capital structures.