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The role of institutions in the contractual process
Arruñada, Benito
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Human beings increase their productivity by specializingtheir resources and exchanging their products. Theorganization of exchange is costly, however, becausespecialized activities need coordination and incentiveshave to be aligned. This work first describes how theseexchanges are organized in an institutional environment.It then focuses on the dual effect of this environment-as with any other specialized resource, institutions maybe used for expropriation purposes. They enjoyspecialization advantages in safeguarding exchange butthey also make possible new forms of opportunism,causing new costs of exchange. Three perverse tendenciesare identified:In the legal field, there is a surplus ofmandatory rules and, at the same time, a deficit in default rules. Second, courts activity is biased againstthe quasi-judicial role of the parties and the market. Third, Market enforcement is based on reputationalassets that are badly exposed to opportunism.
Business Economics and Industrial Organization
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