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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 ...