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University of Michigan Law School

Law and Economics

Contracts

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Full-Text Articles in Law

How To Repair Unconscionable Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar Dec 2007

How To Repair Unconscionable Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Several doctrines of contract law allow courts to strike down excessively one-sided terms. A large literature explored which terms should be viewed as excessive, but a related question is often ignored—what provision should replace the vacated excessive term? This paper begins by suggesting that there are three competing criteria for a replacement provision: (1) the most reasonable term; (2) a punitive term, strongly unfavorable to the overreaching party; and (3) the maximally tolerable term. The paper explores in depth the third criterion—the maximally tolerable term—under which the excessive term is reduced merely to the highest level that ...


Greed And Pride In International Bankruptcy: The Problems And Proposed Solutions To “Local Interests”, John A. E. Pottow Jul 2006

Greed And Pride In International Bankruptcy: The Problems And Proposed Solutions To “Local Interests”, John A. E. Pottow

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

From just-enacted (2005) chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to the U.K. Enterprise Act of 2002, legislative reforms to international bankruptcy are on the rise. One of the thorniest issues facing scholars and policymakers alike in these efforts is what to do with the nettlesome problem of “local interests.” What exactly are these “local interests,” and what is it that we are we trying to protect? Literature to date has been elusive in pinning this down and has offered, for the most part, only undifferentiated anxiety that an international bankruptcy regime may impinge undesirably upon “local concerns ...


An Ex-Ante View Of The Battle Of The Forms: Inducing Parties To Draft Reasonable Terms, Omri Ben-Shahar Oct 2004

An Ex-Ante View Of The Battle Of The Forms: Inducing Parties To Draft Reasonable Terms, Omri Ben-Shahar

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

This paper focuses on one type of ex-ante effect of the battle of the forms: the incentive to draft reasonable boilerplate terms. It argues that the experience with the battle-of-the-forms rule under the CISG reinforces what we already know, that existing legal solutions do not provide any incentive for the parties to draft reasonable forms. The paper suggests that the goal of inducing parties to draft reasonable terms can be significantly promoted by a third rule, a variant of the “best-shot” rule proposed by Victor Goldberg. Under the version labeled the “reasonable-shot” rule, the court would resolve the battle of ...


Credible Coercion, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar Mar 2004

Credible Coercion, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

The ideal of individual liberty and autonomy requires that society provide relief against coercion. In the law, this requirement is often translated into rules that operate “post-coercion” to undo the legal consequences of acts and promises extracted under duress. This Article argues that these ex-post anti-duress measures, rather than helping the coerced party, might in fact hurt her. When coercion is credible—when a credible threat to inflict an even worse outcome underlies the surrender of the coerced party—ex post relief will only induce the strong party to execute the threatened outcome, to the detriment of the coerced party ...


"Agreeing To Disagree": Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar Jan 2004

"Agreeing To Disagree": Filling Gaps In Deliberately Incomplete Contracts, Omri Ben-Shahar

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

This Article develops a new standard for gap filling in incomplete contracts. It focuses on an important class of situations in which parties leave their agreement deliberately incomplete, with the intent to further negotiate and resolve the remaining issues. In these situations, neither the traditional no-enforcement result nor the usual gap filling approaches accord with the parties’ partial consent. Instead, the Article develops the concept of pro-defendant gap-fillers, under which each party is granted an option to enforce the transaction supplemented with terms most favorable (within reason) to the other party. A deliberately incomplete contract with pro-defendant gap fillers transforms ...


Measuring Recovery For Non-Contractual Investment, Omri Ben-Shahar, Robert A. Mikos Sep 2003

Measuring Recovery For Non-Contractual Investment, Omri Ben-Shahar, Robert A. Mikos

Law & Economics Working Papers Archive: 2003-2009

Parties who make investments that generate externalities may sometimes recover from the beneficiaries, even in the absence of contract. Previous scholarship has shown that granting recovery, based on either the cost of the investment or the benefit it confers, can provide optimal incentives to invest. However, this article demonstrates that the law often awards recovery that is neither purely cost-based, nor purely benefit-based, and instead equals either the greater-of or lesser-of the two measures. These hybrid approaches to recovery distort incentives to invest. The article demonstrates the prevalence of these practices, and explores informational and related reasons why they emerge ...