Discussion paper

DP8478 Standardized Enforcement: Access to Justice vs Contractual Innovation

We model the different ways in which precedents and contract standardization shape the joint development of markets and the law. In a setting where more resourceful parties can distort contract enforcement, we find that the introduction of standard contracts reduces enforcement distortions relative to precedents, exerting two effects: i) it statically expands the volume of trade, but ii) it hampers commercial and legal innovation by crowding out the use of innovative contracts. We offer a rationale for the large scale commercial codification that occurred in Common Law systems in the XIX century during a period of booming commerce and long distance trade.


Perotti, E and N Gennaioli (2011), ‘DP8478 Standardized Enforcement: Access to Justice vs Contractual Innovation‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 8478. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp8478