Optimal Property Rights in Financial Contracting
AbstractIn this paper we propose a theory of optimal property rights in a financial contracting setting. Following recent contributions in the property law literature, we emphasize the distinction between contractual rights, that are only enforceable against the parties themselves, and property rights, that are also enforeceable against third parties outside the contract. Our analysis starts with the following question: which contractual agreements should the law allow parties to enforce as property rights? Our proposed answer to this question is shaped by the overall objective of minimizing due diligence (reading) costs and investment distortions that follow from the inability of third-party lenders to costlessly observe pre-existing rights in a borrower's property. Borrowers cannot reduce these costs without the law's help, due to an inability to commit to protecting third-parties from redistribution. We find that the law should take a more restrictive approach to enforcing rights against third-parties when these rights are i) more costly for third-parties to discover, ii) more likely to redistribute value from third-parties, and iii) less likely to increase efficiency. We find that these qualitative principles are often reflected in observed legal rules, including the enforceability of negative covenants; fraudulent conveyance; corporate veil-piercing; and limits on assignability.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13316.
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Kenneth Ayotte & Patrick Bolton, 2011. "Optimal Property Rights in Financial Contracting," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(10), pages 3401-3433.
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
- K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
- K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2007-08-27 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAW-2007-08-27 (Law & Economics)
- NEP-REG-2007-08-27 (Regulation)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Hansmann, Henry & Kraakman, Reinier, 2002. "Property, Contract, and Verification: The Numerus Clausus Problem and the Divisibility of Rights," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages S373-420, June.
- Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971.
"Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972. "Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
- Avery Katz, 1990. "Your Terms or Mine? The Duty to Read the Fine Print in Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 518-537, Winter.
- Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990.
"Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-58, December.
- Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
- Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986.
"The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration,"
3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
- 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.
- Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver, 1985. "The Cost and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 70, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Bisin & Adriano Rampini, 2006. "Exclusive contracts and the institution of bankruptcy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 277-304, January.
- Alan Schwartz, 1997. "Priority Contracts and Priority in Bankruptcy," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm72, Yale School of Management.
- Bizer, David S & DeMarzo, Peter M, 1992. "Sequential Banking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 41-61, February.
- Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.