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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
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:652
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  1. Nicola Gennaioli & Stefano Rossi, 2012. "Contractual Resolutions of Financial Distress," Working Papers 651, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Shleifer, Andrei & Niblett, Anthony & Posner, Richard A., 2010. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," Scholarly Articles 8687032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo & Riboni, Alessandro, 2008. "Statute Law or Case Law?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6912, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Ernst Fehr & Oliver Hart & Christian Zehnder, 2008. "Contracts as reference points – experimental evidence," IEW - Working Papers 393, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Klerman, Daniel & Mahoney, Paul G., 2007. "Legal origin?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 278-293, June.
  6. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, June.
  7. Robert Townsend, 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Staff Report 45, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  8. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  9. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2006. "Contracts as Reference Points," NBER Working Papers 12706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Optimal Contracts With Enforcement Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 59-82, 02.
  11. 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.
  12. Georg Noldeke & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1995. "Option Contracts and Renegotiation: A Solution to the Hold-Up Problem," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 163-179, Summer.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  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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