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University of Michigan Law School

Empirical studies

Contracts

2013

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Legal Entities As Transferable Bundles Of Contracts, Kenneth Ayotte, Henry Hansmann Mar 2013

Legal Entities As Transferable Bundles Of Contracts, Kenneth Ayotte, Henry Hansmann

Michigan Law Review

The large, modern business corporation is frequently organized as a complex cluster of hundreds of corporate subsidiaries under the common control of a single corporate parent. Our Article provides new theory and supportive evidence to help explain this structure. We focus, in particular on the advantages of subsidiary entities in providing the option to transfer some or all of the firm's contractual rights and obligations in the future. The theory not only sheds light on corporate subsidiaries but also illuminates a basic function of all types of legal entities, from partnerships to nonprofit corporations. We show that when, as ...