Club goods are impure public goods. Economic theory states that they will be provided in contexts where exclusion of non-members is easy and desirable. I suggest that the bankruptcy regulation in the free Hanseatic towns – Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck – can be interpreted by drawing on the economics of club goods. Its central element, which was provided in a system of differentiated entry barriers, consisted in the flow of information between debtor and creditor and between different creditors. As business-administrators would put it: low information costs. This paper draws on a broad variety of evidence collected from the city archives for the time period 1815 to 1870, ranging from statutes to court cases and court statistics. The material is explored with both a qualitative and quantitative approach. I will present a few preliminary results of the analysis and a tentative interpretation of the findings.