Debtor Protection and Business Dynamism

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We study the effect of debtor protection on business dynamism. We find that greater debtor protection, in the form of more lenient personal bankruptcy laws, increases firm entry only in sectors requiring low start-up capital. We also find that debtor protection increases firm exit and job destruction rates among young small firms. This negative effect takes 3 years to materialize and is persistent. Finally, we provide evidence consistent with two mechanisms underlying these changes in business dynamism: a reduction in credit supply and entry of lower-quality firms following increases in debtor protection.

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