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Full-Text Articles in Law

Contract Theory And The Limits Of Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2003

Contract Theory And The Limits Of Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article sets out a normative theory to guide decisionmakers in the regulation of contracts between firms. Commercial law for centuries has drawn a distinction between mercantile contracts and others, but modern scholars have not systematically pursued the normative implications of this distinction. We attempt to cure this neglect by setting out the theoretical foundations of a law merchant for our time. Firms contract to maximize expected surplus and the state permits markets to function because markets maximize social welfare. Thus, there is a correspondence of interest between firms and the state, which implies that, when externalities are absent, the ...


Engineering A Venture Capital Market: Lessons From The American Experience, Ronald J. Gilson Jan 2003

Engineering A Venture Capital Market: Lessons From The American Experience, Ronald J. Gilson

Faculty Scholarship

The venture capital market and firms whose creation and early stages were financed by venture capital are among the crown jewels of the American economy. Beyond representing an important engine of macroeconomic growth and job creation, these firms have been a major force in commercializing cutting-edge science, whether through their impact on existing industries as with the radical changes in pharmaceuticals catalyzed by venture-backed firms' commercialization of biotechnology, or by their role in developing entirely new industries as with the emergence of the Internet and World Wide Web. The venture capital market thus provides a unique link between finance and ...


A Theory Of Self-Enforcing Indefinite Agreements, Robert E. Scott Jan 2003

A Theory Of Self-Enforcing Indefinite Agreements, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

One of the core principles of contract law is the requirement of definiteness. Conventional wisdom holds, however, that the indefiniteness doctrine is largely ignored by courts. In this Article, Professor Scott examines the contemporary case law on indefinite contracts and his review yields three striking findings. First, there is a surprisingly high volume of litigation. Second, the indefiniteness doctrine lives on in the common law of contracts. Third, a large number of the indefiniteness cases involve contracts that are "deliberately" incomplete – that is, parties have declined to condition performance on available, verifiable measures that could be specified in the contract ...


The Economics Of Form And Substance In Contract Interpretation, Avery W. Katz Jan 2003

The Economics Of Form And Substance In Contract Interpretation, Avery W. Katz

Faculty Scholarship

For the past 100 years or so the historical trend in the law of contracts has been to water down formal interpretive doctrines in favor of a more all-things-considered analysis of what the parties may have meant or what justice might require in the individual case. This trend away from formal and toward substantive interpretation of contracts has been alternately celebrated and criticized for over a century; and in recent years, a number of economically influenced scholars, in translating some of the classic arguments into economic language, have helped to clarify some of the traditional commentators' concerns. While this new ...


Contract Theory And The Limits Of Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott Jan 2003

Contract Theory And The Limits Of Contract Law, Alan Schwartz, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Contract law has neither a complete descriptive theory, explaining what the law is, nor a complete normative theory, explaining what the law should be. These gaps are unsurprising given the traditional definition of contract as embracing all promises that the law will enforce. Even a theory of contract law that focuses only on the enforcement of bargains must still consider the entire continuum from standard form contracts between firms and consumers to commercial contracts among businesses. No descriptive theory has yet explained a law of contract that comprehends such a broad domain. Normative theories that are grounded in a single ...