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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 Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1329.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
Date of revision: Jun 2012
Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1329
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  1. Luca Anderlini & Leonardo Felli & Alessandro Riboni, 2008. "Statute Law or Case Law?," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 83, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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. Nicola Gennaioli & Stefano Rossi, 2013. "Contractual Resolutions of Financial Distress," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 26(3), pages 602-634.
  7. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 2006. "Contracts as Reference Points," NBER Working Papers 12706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Gennaioli, Nicola, 2011. "Optimal Contracts with Enforcement Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 8405, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  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. Shleifer, Andrei & Niblett, Anthony & Posner, Richard A., 2010. "The Evolution of a Legal Rule," Scholarly Articles 8687032, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Klerman, Daniel & Mahoney, Paul G., 2007. "Legal origin?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 278-293, 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. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, June.
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