REVISION: Asset Allocation in Bankruptcy
This paper investigates the consequences of liquidation and reorganization on the allocation and subsequent utilization of assets in bankruptcy. Using the random assignment of judges to bankruptcy cases as a natural experiment that forces some firms into liquidation, we find that the long-run utilization of assets of liquidated firms is lower relative to assets of reorganized firms. These effects are concentrated in thin markets with few potential users, and in areas with low access to finance. These findings suggest that when search frictions are large, liquidation can lead to inefficient allocation of assets in bankruptcy.
New: Marginal Entrepreneurs
Firm entry plays an important role in the amplification and propagation of aggregate economic shocks. In this paper, we study the characteristics of the actual individuals who drive firm entry response to aggregate shocks, the marginal entrepreneurs. We use employer-employee matched data from Brazil and develop an empirical strategy that links fluctuations in global commodity prices to municipality level agricultural endowments to identify local demand shocks. We find that increases in global commodity prices lead to a significant increase in new firm creation and this effect is almost entirely driven by young individuals. Within the young, we further document that the most responsive individuals are those who are more educated and who work in occupations that require generalist, managerial skills. In contrast, we find no such response among older skilled and educated individuals. Municipalities with better access to finance and higher concentrations of skilled individuals see a ...
REVISION: Patronage in the Allocation of Public Sector Jobs
This paper studies patronage - the use of public sector jobs to reward political supporters of the party in power - in Brazilian local governments. We exploit longitudinal data on the universe of Brazilian public sector employees over the 1997-2014 period, matched with information on more than 2,000,000 political supporters of Brazilian local parties. Using a regression discontinuity design that generates exogenous variation in individuals' connection to the party in power, we first document the presence of significant political favoritism in the allocation of jobs throughout the entire Brazilian public sector hierarchy: being a political supporter of the party in power increases the probability of having a public sector job by 10.5 percentage points (a 47% increase). Leveraging detailed information on supporters' and jobs' characteristics, we then show that patronage is the leading explanation behind this favoritism: jobs in the public sector are used as reward for political ...
REVISION: Corruption and Firms: Evidence from Randomized Audits in Brazil
We exploit spatial variation in randomized anti-corruption audits related to government procurement contracts in Brazil to assess how corruption affects resource al- location, firm performance, and local economic activity. In an event study framework, we find that after an anti-corruption crackdown, regions experience more entrepreneurship, improved access to finance, and higher levels of economic activity. This is inconsistent with corruption acting as “grease in the wheel.” We find that two channels explain these facts: (i) allocation of resources to less efficient firms, and (ii) distortions in government dependent firms. Using firms involved in corrupt business with the municipality, i.e. “corrupt firms,” we show that the second channel is more important. Difference in difference estimation suggests that, after audits, the performance of corrupt firms improves relative to a similar set of unaffected firms. Corrupt firms invest more, increase borrowing and leverage, reallocate ...
New: Bankruptcy Spillovers
How do different bankruptcy approaches affect the local economy? Using U.S. Census microdata at the establishment level, we explore the spillover effects of reorganization and liquidation on geographically proximate firms. We exploit the random assignment of bankruptcy judges as a source of exogenous variation in the probability of liquidation. We find that within a five year period, employment declines substantially in the immediate neighborhood of the liquidated establishments, relative to reorganized establishments. Most of the decline is due to lower growth of existing establishments and, to a lesser extent, reduced entry into the area. The spillover effects are highly localized and concentrate in the non-tradable and service sectors, particularly when the bankrupt firm operates in the same sector. These results suggest that liquidation leads to a reduction in consumer traffic to the local area and to a decline in knowledge spillovers between firms. The evidence is inconsistent ...