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Bankruptcy is the legal process by which the debts of firms, individuals, and occasionally governments in financial distress are resolved. Bankruptcy law always includes three components. First, it provides a collective framework for simultaneously resolving all debts of the bankrupt entity, regardless of when they are due. Second, it provides rules for determining how the assets and earnings used to repay are divided among creditors. Third, bankruptcy law specifies punishments intended to discourage debtors from defaulting on their debts and filing for bankruptcy. This paper discusses and evaluates bankruptcy law by examining whether and when the law encourages debtors and creditors to behave in economically efficient ways.
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