Past and future of the bankruptcy law in Brazil and Latin America

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This paper studies the Bankruptcy Law in Latin America, focusing on the Brazilian reform. We start with a review of the international literature and its evolution on this subject. Next, we examine the economic incentives associated with several aspects of bankruptcy laws and insolvency procedures in general, as well as the trade-offs involved. After this theoretical discussion, we evaluate empirically the current stage of the quality of insolvency procedures in Latin America using data from Doing Business and World Development Indicators, both from World Bank and International Financial Statistics from IMF. We find that the region is governed by an inefficient law, even when compared with regions of lower per capita income. As theoretical and econometric models predict, this inefficiency has severe consequences for credit markets and the cost of capital. Next, we focus on the recent Brazilian bankruptcy reform, analyzing its main changes and possible effects over the economic environment. The appendix describes difficulties of this process of reform in Brazil, and what other Latin American countries can possibly learn from it.

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