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Standardized Enforcement: Access to Justice vs. Contractual Innovation

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  • Nicola Gennaioli
  • Enrico Perotti

Abstract

We model the different ways in which precedents and contract standardization shape the development of markets and the law. In a setup where more resourceful parties can distort contract enforcement to their advantage, we find that the introduction of a standard contract reduces enforcement distortions relative to precedents, exerting two effects: i) it statically expands the volume of trade, but ii) it crowds out the use of innovative contracts, hindering contractual innovation. We shed light on the large scale commercial codification occurred in the 19th century in many countries (even Common Law ones) during a period of booming commerce and long distance trade.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 652.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:652

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Keywords: contracting; standardization; inequality; legal evolution;

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  1. Gennaioli, Nicola, 2011. "Optimal Contracts with Enforcement Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 8405, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 2005. "Contract theory," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9543, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2007. "Contracts as Reference Points," ESE Discussion Papers 170, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as reference points – experimental evidence," IEW - Working Papers 393, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  6. Nicola Gennaioli & Stefano Rossi, 2013. "Contractual Resolutions of Financial Distress," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 602-634.
  7. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Leonardo Felli & Alessandro Riboni & Luca Anderlini, 2007. "Statute Law or Case Law?," 2007 Meeting Papers 952, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Patricio A. Fernandez, 2008. "Case Law versus Statute Law: An Evolutionary Comparison," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 379-430, 06.
  10. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
  11. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 2000. "On the Economics of Trials: Adversarial Process, Evidence, and Equilibrium Bias," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 365-94, October.
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  15. Alan Schwartz & Robert Scott, . "Contract Theory and the Limits of Contract Law," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1011, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  16. Patricio A. Fernandez & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2012. "Stare Decisis: Rhetoric and Substance," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 313-336.
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Cited by:
  1. Massenot, Baptiste, 2010. "Contract enforcement, litigation, and economic development," MPRA Paper 27501, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Van Assche, Ari & Schwartz, Galina A., 2013. "Contracting institutions and ownership structure in international joint ventures," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 124-132.
  3. Massenot, Baptiste, 2011. "Financial development in adversarial and inquisitorial legal systems," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 602-608.
  4. Ari Van Assche & Galina A. Schwartz, 2013. "Contracting Institutions and Ownership Structure in International Joint Ventures," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-04, CIRANO.
  5. Massenot, Baptiste, 2010. "Financial development in adversarial and inquisitorial legal systems," MPRA Paper 27098, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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