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The Color of Law: An Economic Theory of Legal Boundaries

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper presents an economic theory of property, tort, and contract law based on the goal of efficiently governing economic exchange relationships. In the theory, legal boundaries emerge endogenously in response to exogenous differences in the nature of the underlying transaction concerning the possible existence of unforeseen or non-contractible contingencies, and/or the desire of one of the parties to make non-salvageable investments prior to trade. The analysis asks whether, in this context, the transaction is best governed by property, tort, or contract principles. The conclusions are illustrated by a discussion of several cases that occupy the “boundaries” between the various areas.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2013-17.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2013-17.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2013-17

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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Property; torts; contracts; legal boundaries;

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References

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  1. Miceli,Thomas J., 2011. "The Economic Theory of Eminent Domain," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107005259, April.
  2. Mathias Dewatripont & Patrick Bolton, 2005. "Contract theory," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9543, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Spence, A Michael, 1977. "Consumer Misperceptions, Product Failure and Producer Liability," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 561-72, October.
  4. A. Mitchell Polinsky & William P. Rogerson, 1983. "Products Liability, Consumer Misperceptions, and Market Power," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 581-589, Autumn.
  5. 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.
  6. Friedmann, Daniel, 1989. "The Efficient Breach Fallacy," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 1-24, January.
  7. Douglas W. Allen & Dean Lueck, 1993. "Transaction Costs and the Design of Cropshare Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(1), pages 78-100, Spring.
  8. White, Michelle J, 1988. "Contract Breach and Contract Discharge Due to Impossibility: A Unified Theory," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 353-76, June.
  9. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2011. "Holdups and Holdouts: What do They Have in Common?," Working papers 2011-06, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
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