Absent intervention by policymakers, mass bankruptcies across multiple sectors of the real economy can be expected to follow any significant period of trading shutdown. As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, policymakers moved with remarkable speed in response to this anticipated threat, with a battery of interventions that included significant bail-outs, interventions in contracts, and the modification of pre-pandemic insolvency laws.

This project, funded by Oxford University’s COVID-19 Research Response Fund, will explore how and why policymakers intervened, and with what effects. Of particular interest to the project team, led by Kristin van Zwieten, together with Horst Eidenmueller and Oren Sussman, are longer-term effects on commercial law.

The project involves data collection in a significant number of jurisdictions, along with other qualitative and quantitative work. A series of public talks complementing these work streams began in late 2020, and will continue over the life of the project in 2021.