IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Erosion of Rights by Past Breach

Listed author(s):
  • Ben-Shahar, Omri
Registered author(s):

    Legal rights may erode as a result of past, uncontested, breach. In light of ongoing violations, the rightholder's lackluster enforcement may result in the loss of the entitlement. The doctrines of course of performance in contract law and adverse possession in property law are prominent examples of this widespread erosion phenomenon. In analyzing the effects of such laws, the article confronts two conflicting intuitions. On the one hand, the "license" to continue breach prospectively encourages opportunism. On the other hand, the risk of erosion may reinforce the rightholder's motivation to take antierosion measures, bolstering the credibility of the threat to enforce, thus better preserving the entitlement. The article proves that these two effects of erosion rules always balance out. The same amount of value will be extracted from the rightholder, irrespective of the law's erosion doctrine. The article also demonstrates the limits of this "irrelevance" claim and the factors that may lead to its collapse. It applies the analysis to offer new perspectives on various prominent legal rules. Copyright 1999 by Oxford University Press.

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

    Volume (Year): 1 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 1-2 (Fall)
    Pages: 190-238

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:1:y:1999:i:1-2:p:190-238
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK

    Fax: 01865 267 985
    Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:1:y:1999:i:1-2:p:190-238. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press)

    or (Christopher F. Baum)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.