Bankruptcy Laws and Entrepreneur- Friendliness


Mike W. Peng, tel.: (972) 883-2714; e-mail:, to Yasuhiro Yamakawa at, and to Seung-Hyun Lee at


Using bankruptcy laws as a case of formal institutions, we show how formal institutions impact entrepreneurship development. Historically, bankruptcy laws usually have been harsh. Recently, many governments have realized that entrepreneur-friendly bankruptcy laws can not only lower exit barriers, but also lower entry barriers for entrepreneurs. Since bankruptcy laws are not uniform around the world, it is important to understand how they differ in their friendliness to entrepreneurs. This article focuses on six dimensions of entrepreneur-friendliness: (1) the availability of a reorganization bankruptcy option, (2) the time spent on bankruptcy procedures, (3) the cost of bankruptcy procedures, (4) the opportunity to have a fresh start in liquidation bankruptcy, (5) the opportunity to have an automatic stay of assets during reorganization bankruptcy, and (6) the opportunity for entrepreneurs and managers to remain on the job after filing for bankruptcy. In an effort to cover both developed and emerging economies and to draw on geographically diverse examples, we use data from Australia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Norway, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and other countries to illustrate these differences. Overall, this article contributes to the institution-based view of entrepreneurship by highlighting the important role that formal institutions such as bankruptcy laws play behind entrepreneurship development around the world.