IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Statute Law or Case Law?

  • Anderlini, Luca
  • Felli, Leonardo
  • Riboni, Alessandro

In a Case Law regime Courts have more flexibility than in a Statute Law regime. Since Statutes are inevitably incomplete, this confers an advantage to the Statute Law regime over the Case Law one. However, all Courts rule ex-post, after most economic decisions are already taken. Therefore, the advantage of flexibility for Case Law is unavoidably paired with the potential for time-inconsistency. Under Case Law, Courts may be tempted to behave myopically and neglect ex-ante welfare because, ex-post, this may afford extra gains from trade for the parties currently in Court. The temptation to behave myopically is traded off against the effect of a Court's ruling, as a precedent, on the rulings of future Courts. When Case Law matures this temptation prevails and Case Law Courts succumb to the time-inconsistency problem. Statute Law, on the other hand pairs the lack of flexibility with the ability to commit in advance to a given (forward looking) rule. This solves the time-inconsistency problem afflicting the Case Law Courts. We conclude that when the nature of the legal environment is sufficiently heterogeneous and/or changes sufficiently often, the Case Law regime is superior: flexibility is the prevailing concern. By the same token, when the legal environment is sufficiently homogeneous and/or does not change very often, the Statute Law regime dominates: the ability to overcome the time-inconsistency problem is the dominant consideration.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6912
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6912.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6912
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Maurice Obstfeld, 1991. "Destabilizing Effects of Exchange-Rate Escape Clauses," NBER Working Papers 3603, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Anderlini, Luca & Felli, Leonardo & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2004. "Should Courts Always Enforce What Contracting Parties Write?," CEPR Discussion Papers 4197, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1997. "Power in a Theory of the Firm," NBER Working Papers 6274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Anthony Niblett & Richard A. Posner & Andrei Shleifer, . "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," Working Paper 19510, Harvard University OpenScholar.
  6. Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2004. "The optimal degree of discretion in monetary policy," International Finance Discussion Papers 801, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  9. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2005. "The Evolution of Precedent," NBER Working Papers 11265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1999. "Investor Protection and Corporate Valuation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1882, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 1999. "Stampede to Judgment: Persuasive Influence and Herding Behavior by Courts," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 158-89, Fall.
  13. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 2002. "Courts, contracts, and interference," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 734-744, May.
  14. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  15. Phelan, Christopher, 2006. "Public trust and government betrayal," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 130(1), pages 27-43, September.
  16. Hadfield, Gillian K., 2008. "The levers of legal design: Institutional determinants of the quality of law," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 43-73, March.
  17. RAFAEL LaPORTA & FLORENCIO LOPEZ-de-SILANES & ANDREI SHLEIFER & ROBERT W. VISHNY, . "Legal Determinants of External Finance,"," CRSP working papers 324, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  18. Christopher Phelan, 2001. "Public trust and government betrayal," Staff Report 283, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Shavell, Steven, 1995. "The Appeals Process as a Means of Error Correction," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 379-426, June.
  20. Scherer, F M, 1972. "Nordhaus' Theory of Optimal Patent Life: A Geometric Reinterpretation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 422-27, June.
  21. Levy, Gilat, 2003. "Careerist Judges," CEPR Discussion Papers 3948, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 2001. "Markov Perfect Equilibrium: I. Observable Actions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 100(2), pages 191-219, October.
  23. Naomi R. Lamoreaux & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2004. "Legal Regime and Business's Organizational Choice: A Comparison of France and the United States," NBER Working Papers 10288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. McCahery, Joseph A. & Moerland, Piet & Raaijmakers, Theo & Renneboog, Luc (ed.), 2002. "Corporate Governance Regimes: Convergence and Diversity," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199247875, March.
  25. Steven Shavell, 2007. "Optimal Discretion in the Application of Rules," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 175-194.
  26. Manuel Amador & Ivan Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2003. "Commitment Vs. Flexibility," NBER Working Papers 10151, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "Legal Origins," NBER Working Papers 8272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Spitzer, Matt & Talley, Eric, 2000. "Judicial Auditing," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 649-83, June.
  29. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:cpr:ceprdp:6912. 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: ()

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.