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The law of impersonal transactions
Arruñada, Benito
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Most economic interactions happen in a context of sequential exchangein which innocent third parties suffer information asymmetry with respect toprevious "originative" contracts. The law reduces transaction costs byprotecting these third parties but preserves some element of consent byproperty rightholders to avoid damaging property enforcement?e.g., it isthey, as principals, who authorize agents in originative contracts. Judicialverifiability of these originative contracts is obtained either as an automaticbyproduct of transactions or, when these would have remained private, byrequiring them to be made public. Protecting third parties produces a legalcommodity which is easy to trade impersonally, improving the allocationand specialization of resources. Historical delay in generalizing this legalcommoditization paradigm is attributed to path dependency?the law firstdeveloped for personal trade?and an unbalance in vested interests, asluddite legal professionals face weak public bureaucracies.
Business Economics and Industrial Organization
Finance and Accounting
property rights
impersonal transactions.
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