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Optimal Contracts With Enforcement Risk

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  • Nicola Gennaioli

Abstract

I build a model where potentially biased judges verify complex states by interpreting an imperfect signal whose noise captures factual ambiguities. In a sales and a financial transaction I show that judicial biases amplify and distort factual ambiguities, creating enforcement risk. To insure against such risk, parties write simple non-contingent contracts that optimally protect the party that is most vulnerable to judicial error. These results shed light on the empirical association between law and finance and rationalize salient features of real world enforcement regimes.
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Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Optimal Contracts With Enforcement Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 59-82, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:11:y:2013:i:1:p:59-82
    DOI: j.1542-4774.2012.01107.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2012.01107.x
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    2. Ari Van Assche & Galina A. Schwartz, 2013. "Contracting Institutions and Ownership Structure in International Joint Ventures," CIRANO Working Papers 2013s-04, CIRANO.
    3. Bottazzi, L. & Da Rin, M. & Hellmann, T., 2010. "The Importance of Trust for Investment : Evidence From Venture Capital (Revision of DP 2009-43)," Discussion Paper 2010-49, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Nicola Gennaioli & Enrico Perotti, 2009. "Standardized enforcement: Access to justice vs contractual innovation," Economics Working Papers 1329, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jun 2012.
    5. Nicola Gennaioli & Stefano Rossi, 2013. "Contractual Resolutions of Financial Distress," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 602-634.
    6. L. Bottazzi & M. Da Rin & T. Hellmann, 2007. "The Importance of Trust for Investment: Evidence from Venture Capital," Working Papers 612, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Massenot, Baptiste, 2011. "Financial development in adversarial and inquisitorial legal systems," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 602-608.
    8. Pierre Bentata & Yolande Hiriart, 2015. "Biased Judges: Evidence from French Environmental Cases," Working Papers 2015-17, CRESE.
    9. repec:kap:jincot:v:18:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10842-017-0252-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Gennaioli, Nicola & Ponzetto, Giacomo AM, 2015. "Legal Evolution and Contract Evolution under Imperfect Enforcement," CEPR Discussion Papers 10700, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Massenot, Baptiste, 2010. "Contract enforcement, litigation, and economic development," MPRA Paper 27501, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. 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.
    13. Nicola Gennaioli & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2015. "Optimally vague contracts and the law," Economics Working Papers 1410, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jan 2017.
    14. Lu, Yi & Tao, Zhigang, 2009. "Contract enforcement and family control of business: Evidence from China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 597-609, December.
    15. Gennaioli, Nicola & Perotti, Enrico C & Ponzetto, Giacomo AM, 2014. "Legal Evolution, Contract Evolution, and Standardization," CEPR Discussion Papers 9836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Gabriel Madeira, 2014. "Legal enforcement, default and heterogeneity of project-financing contracts," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 569-602, November.
    17. Nicola Gennaioli & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2015. "Contract Innovation and Legal Evolution under Imperfect Enforcement," Working Papers 836, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    18. Robin Christmann, 2014. "No Judge, No Job! Court errors and the contingent labor contract," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 409-429, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)

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