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Economic Analysis of Contract Law

  • Steven Shavell

Contract law governs agreements between parties. This paper contains the chapters on contract law from a general, forthcoming book, Foundations of Economic Analysis of Law (Harvard University Press, 2003). Chapter 13 presents an overview of the subject. Chapter 14 is concerned with contract formation, that is, with the process through which parties find contracting partners, with aspects of contract negotiation, and with the rules governing when an arrangement between parties becomes legally recognized as a contract. Chapter 15 considers at length an important type of contract: the contract to produce something. Chapter 16 is concerned with two other types of contract: the contract for transfer of possession of something that already exists (such as land or a painting), and donative contracts.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9696.

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Date of creation: May 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9696
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  1. Kathryn E. Spier, 1992. "Incomplete Contracts and Signalling," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 23(3), pages 432-443, Autumn.
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  9. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Steven Shavell, 1991. "Information and the Scope of Liability for Breach of Contract: The Rule of Hadley V. Baxendale," NBER Working Papers 3696, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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 115-57, January.
  11. Che, Y.K. & Chung, Y.T., 1996. "Contract Damages and Cooperative Investments," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9612, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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  13. Rasmusen, E., 1992. "Mutual and Unilateral Mistake in Contract Law," Papers 92-022, Indiana - Center for Econometric Model Research.
  14. Aghion, P. & Hermalin, B., 1990. "Legal Restrictions on Private Contracts Can Enhance Efficiency," DELTA Working Papers 90-14, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  15. Paul R. Milgrom, 1979. "Good Nevs and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Discussion Papers 407R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Che, Y.K. & Hausch, D.B., 1997. "Cooperative Investments and the Value of Contracting," Working papers 9714, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  17. Jolls, Christine, 1997. "Contracts as Bilateral Commitments: A New Perspective on Contract Modification," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(1), pages 203-37, January.
  18. Peter A. Diamond & Eric Maskin, 1979. "An Equilibrium Analysis of Search and Breach of Contract, I: Steady States," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 282-316, Spring.
  19. 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.
  20. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1978. "Salvors, Finders, Good Samaritans and Other Rescuers: An Economic Study of Law and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 0227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Kathryn E. Spier & Michael D. Whinston, 1995. "On the Efficiency of Privately Stipulated Damages for Breach of Contract: Entry Barriers, Reliance, and Renegotiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 26(2), pages 180-202, Summer.
  22. Michael J. Fishman & Kathleen M. Hagerty, 1990. "The Optimal Amount of Discretion to Allow in Disclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 427-444.
  23. William P. Rogerson, 1984. "Efficient Reliance and Damage Measures for Breach of Contract," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(1), pages 39-53, Spring.
  24. Smith, Janet Kiholm & Smith, Richard L, 1990. "Contract Law, Mutual Mistake, and Incentives to Produce and Disclose Information," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 467-88, June.
  25. 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.
  26. Sykes, Alan O, 1990. "The Doctrine of Commercial Impracticability in a Second-Best World," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 43-94, January.
  27. Hadfield, Gillian K, 1994. "Judicial Competence and the Interpretation of Incomplete Contracts," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 159-84, January.
  28. 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 615-41, August.
  29. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Png, I. P. L., 1999. "Damage measures for inadvertant breach of contract," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 319-331, September.
  30. Masahiro Okuno-Fujiwara & Andrew Postlewaite & Kotaro Suzumura, 1990. "Strategic Information Revelation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 25-47.
  31. Stole, Lars A, 1992. "The Economics of Liquidated Damage Clauses in Contractual Environments with Private Information," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 582-606, October.
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