IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/bep/usclwp/usclwps-1003.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Contract Law is Not Enough: The Many Legal Institutions That Support Contractual Commitments

Author

Listed:
  • Gillian Hadfield

    (USC Law School)

Abstract

One of the fundamental contributions of transaction cost theory and institutional economics has been to focus attention on opening the "black box" of contract enforcement, drawing attention to the institutions required to achieve effective and low-cost contract enforcement. The idea that the effectiveness of contract law is critical to the growth of economic activity is widespread in the literature on development and transition economies. Recent studies attempting to document toe relative strength of contract enforcement in different settings (La Porta, et al., 19982; Djankov, et al., 2003), however, have focused on relatively abstract notions of "courts" and "legal systems" and have yet to investigate the detailed institutional features that make contract law effective and low-cost. Even if it is correct to identify "common law legal systems" as productive of greater economic growth, for example, we still do not know what it is about those systems that produces this growth and in particular how these systems achieve more effective and lower cost contract enforcement. This paper explores in a detailed way the multiple legal institutions at work in the organization of courts, the judiciary, the legal profession, enforcement services, and the process of lawmaking and legal innovation, all of which play significant roles in structuring an effective and cost-effective regime of contract enforcement.

Suggested Citation

  • Gillian Hadfield, "undated". "Contract Law is Not Enough: The Many Legal Institutions That Support Contractual Commitments," University of Southern California Legal Working Paper Series usclwps-1003, University of Southern California Law School.
  • Handle: RePEc:bep:usclwp:usclwps-1003
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://law.bepress.com/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=usclwps
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Masten, Scott E & Snyder, Edward A, 1993. "United States versus United Shoe Machinery Corporation: On the Merits," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 33-70, April.
    2. Paul R. Milgrom & Douglass C. North & Barry R. Weingast, 1990. "The Role Of Institutions In The Revival Of Trade: The Law Merchant, Private Judges, And The Champagne Fairs," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(1), pages 1-23, March.
    3. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Courts: The Lex Mundi Project," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1951, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Greif, Avner, 1989. "Reputation and Coalitions in Medieval Trade: Evidence on the Maghribi Traders," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 857-882, December.
    5. Messick, Richard E, 1999. "Judicial Reform and Economic Development: A Survey of the Issues," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 117-136, February.
    6. Greif, Avner & Milgrom, Paul & Weingast, Barry R, 1994. "Coordination, Commitment, and Enforcement: The Case of the Merchant Guild," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 745-776, August.
    7. 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.
    8. Bernstein, Lisa, 1992. "Opting Out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 115-157, January.
    9. Henry Hansmann & Reinier Kraakman, 2000. "The Essential Role of Organizational Law," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm147, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Nov 2001.
    10. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-641, August.
    11. Hay, Jonathan R & Shleifer, Andrei, 1998. "Private Enforcement of Public Laws: A Theory of Legal Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 398-403, May.
    12. G.F. Mathewson & R.A. Winter, 1984. "An Economic Theory of Vertical Restraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 27-38, Spring.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bep:usclwp:usclwps-1003. 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: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://lawweb.usc.edu/ .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.