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Columbia Law School

2020

Bilateral agreements

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The Paradox Of Contracting In Markets, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

The Paradox Of Contracting In Markets, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Traditional economic analysis distinguishes economic organization along three dimensions: firm, contract, and market. This categorization is misleading in any number of respects, but none more so than the assumption that contract and market are separate modes of exchange. In fact, other than barter, which is almost unknown in contemporary commercial transactions, every market transaction is implemented by contract. Thus, in markets the two modes of exchange are inextricably combined. Moreover, the vast majority of contract activity occurs in some form of market, so it does not require much loss of generalization to say that not only are contracts in all ...