The committee, composed of Luisa Fuster, Maia Güell and Diego Puga, has decided to give the SERIEs Best paper Award in the period 2014-2018 to Miguel Garcia-Posada and Juan S. Mora-Sanguinetti for their articler «Are there alternatives to bankruptcy? A study of small business distress in Spain,” (published on vol. 5, no. 2-3, August 2014, pp. 287-332).
This is a novel and careful study that addresses an important issue and has clear policy implications. Business bankruptcy rates in Spain have remained among the lowest in the world, even during the recent economic crises. Using cross-country firm level data, the paper presents evidence that this reflects inefficient bankruptcy procedures in Spain. These procedures distort the capital structure of small Spanish firms and the choice between unsecure and secure credit. Relative to their counterparts in France and the UK, small business in Spain invest too much in tangible assets, too little in intangible assets, and rely too much on mortgage credit. The findings suggest that the inefficient bankruptcy procedures in Spain may lead to important efficiency losses.