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Standardized Enforcement: Access to Justice vs Contractual Innovation

  • Gennaioli, Nicola
  • Perotti, Enrico C

We model the different ways in which precedents and contract standardization shape the joint development of markets and the law. In a setting where more resourceful parties can distort contract enforcement, we find that the introduction of standard contracts reduces enforcement distortions relative to precedents, exerting two effects: i) it statically expands the volume of trade, but ii) it hampers commercial and legal innovation by crowding out the use of innovative contracts. We offer a rationale for the large scale commercial codification that occurred in Common Law systems in the XIX century during a period of booming commerce and long distance trade.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8478.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8478
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  1. 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.
  2. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Alessandro Riboni, 2008. "Statute Law or Case Law?," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 528, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  3. Nicola Gennaioli, 2013. "Optimal Contracts With Enforcement Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 59-82, 02.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Shleifer, Andrei & Niblett, Anthony & Posner, Richard A., 2010. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," Scholarly Articles 8687032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2008. "Contracts as Reference Points," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 1-48, 02.
  8. 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.
  9. Oliver Hart & Sanford Grossman, 1985. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Working papers 372, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. Townsend, Robert M., 1979. "Optimal contracts and competitive markets with costly state verification," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 265-293, October.
  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. Klerman, Daniel & Mahoney, Paul G., 2007. "Legal origin?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 278-293, June.
  14. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, June.
  15. 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.
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