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Optimal Property Rights in Financial Contracting

  • Kenneth Ayotte
  • Patrick Bolton

This article adopts a definition of property rights from legal scholarship: A property right (in contrast to a contractual right) is enforceable, not only against the parties to a contract, but also against third parties outside the contract. In a financial contracting setting, we ask: When should the law enforce a lender's contractual protections as property rights, given that these rights may be hidden and costly for other lenders to discover? Our model explains why the law limits the creation and enforceability of property rights, and develops principles of optimal enforceability. These principles are often reflected in the law. The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com., Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal Review of Financial Studies.

Volume (Year): 24 (2011)
Issue (Month): 10 ()
Pages: 3401-3433

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Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:24:y:2011:i:10:p:3401-3433
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  1. Bizer, David S & DeMarzo, Peter M, 1992. "Sequential Banking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 41-61, February.
  2. Hart, Oliver D. & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Scholarly Articles 3448675, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  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. Alan Schwartz, 1997. "Priority Contracts and Priority in Bankruptcy," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm72, Yale School of Management.
  7. Alberto Bisin & Adriano Rampini, 2006. "Exclusive contracts and the institution of bankruptcy," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 277-304, January.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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