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Jared A. Ellias, What Drives Bankruptcy Forum Shopping? Evidence from Market Data, 47 J. Legal Stud. 119 (2018).

Abstract: Over the past 30 years, the majority of large firms that filed for bankruptcy did so in the US bankruptcy courts of the Southern District of New York and Delaware. Some believe these experienced courts dominate because their expertise makes bankruptcy more predictable. Critics dispute this explanation, arguing instead that “predictability” is a cloak for the true, self-interested motivation of the debtor’s managers, lawyers, and senior creditors who influence the debtor’s choice of venue. In this paper, I look for evidence supporting the views of the proponents and detractors of bankruptcy forum shopping in a large sample of market data. My results suggest that the market is better at predicting the outcomes of bankruptcy cases in New York and Delaware, consistent with the hypothesis that the law there is more predictable. I do not find evidence supporting the view that those courts are biased in favor of senior creditors.