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'Capacitas': Contract Law and the Institutional Preconditions of a Market Economy

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  • Simon Deakin
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    Abstract

    Capacity may be defined as a status conferred by law for the purpose of empowering persons to participate in the operations of a market economy. This paper argues that because of the confining influence of the classical private law of the nineteenth century, we currently lack a convincing theory of the role of law in enhancing and protecting the substantive contractual capacity of market agents, a notion which resembles the economic concept of 'capability' as developed by Amartya Sen. Re-examining the legal notion of capacity from the perspective of Sen's 'capability approach' is part of a process of understanding the preconditions for a sustainable market order under modern conditions.

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    File URL: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/pdf/WP325.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ESRC Centre for Business Research in its series ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers with number wp325.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2006
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    Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp325

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    Web page: http://www.cbr.cam.ac.uk/

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    Keywords: contract law; capacity; capability approach;

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    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Legal Origins," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1193-1229, November.
    2. Stigler, George J & Becker, Gary S, 1977. "De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 76-90, March.
    3. Mathias M Siems, 2006. "Legal origins: reconciling law and finance and comparative law," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp321, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
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