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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Contract Governance In Small-World Networks: The Case Of The Maghribi Traders, Lisa Bernstein Mar 2019

Contract Governance In Small-World Networks: The Case Of The Maghribi Traders, Lisa Bernstein

Northwestern University Law Review

This Article revisits the best known example of successful private ordering in the economics literature: the Maghribi Jewish merchants who engaged in both local and long-distance trade across the Islamic Mediterranean in the eleventh century. Drawing on a case study of over 200 Maghribi merchant letters, it develops a network governance-based account of the way that private ordering might have supported exchange among the Maghribi traders with little or no reliance on the public legal system. The analysis reveals that a particular type of bridge-and-cluster configuration of ties among traders and trading centers--known as a “small-world network”—can have strong ...


Coordinating In The Shadow Of The Law: Two Contextualized Tests Of The Focal Point Theory Of Legal Compliance, Richard H. Mcadams, Janice Nadler Jan 2008

Coordinating In The Shadow Of The Law: Two Contextualized Tests Of The Focal Point Theory Of Legal Compliance, Richard H. Mcadams, Janice Nadler

Faculty Working Papers

In situations where people have an incentive to coordinate their behavior, law can provide a framework for understanding and predicting what others are likely to do. According to the focal point theory of expressive law, the law's articulation of a behavior can sometimes create self-fulfilling expectations that it will occur. Existing theories of legal compliance emphasize the effect of sanctions or legitimacy; we argue that, in addition to sanctions and legitimacy, law can also influence compliance simply by making one outcome salient. We tested this claim in two experiments where sanctions and legitimacy were held constant. Experiment 1 demonstrated ...