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Standardized Enforcement: Access to Justice vs. Contractual Innovation

  • Nicola Gennaioli
  • Enrico Perotti

We model the different ways in which precedents and contract standardization shape the development of markets and the law. In a setup where more resourceful parties can distort contract enforcement to their advantage, we find that the introduction of a standard contract reduces enforcement distortions relative to precedents, exerting two effects: i) it statically expands the volume of trade, but ii) it crowds out the use of innovative contracts, hindering contractual innovation. We shed light on the large scale commercial codification occurred in the 19th century in many countries (even Common Law ones) during a period of booming commerce and long distance trade.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 652.

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Date of creation: Jun 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:652
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  1. Gennaioli, Nicola, 2011. "Optimal Contracts with Enforcement Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 8405, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Anthony Niblett & Richard A. Posner & Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(2), pages 325 - 358.
  3. Nöldeke, Georg & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1995. "Option contracts and renegotiation: A solution to the Hold-Up Problem," Munich Reprints in Economics 19329, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Grossman, Sanford J. & Hart, Oliver D., 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Scholarly Articles 3450060, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2011. "Contracts as Reference Points--Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 493-525, April.
  6. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1985. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 749, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Robert M. Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & A. Riboni, 2008. "Statute law or case law?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4433, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto & Patricio A. Fernandez, 2008. "Case Law versus Statute Law: An Evolutionary Comparison," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 379-430, 06.
  10. Nicola Gennaioli & Stefano Rossi, 2006. "Contractual resolutions of financial distress," Economics Working Papers 1316, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2012.
  11. Klerman, Daniel & Mahoney, Paul G., 2007. "Legal origin?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 278-293, June.
  12. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48, 02.
  13. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, June.
  14. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 2000. "On the Economics of Trials: Adversarial Process, Evidence, and Equilibrium Bias," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 365-94, October.
  15. Alan Schwartz & Robert Scott, . "Contract Theory and the Limits of Contract Law," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1011, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
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