The regulatory function of contract law: A comparative law and economics approach

PhD thesis


Gramcheva, L. 2015. The regulatory function of contract law: A comparative law and economics approach. PhD thesis European University Institute Department of Law https://doi.org/10.2870/494573
TypePhD thesis
TitleThe regulatory function of contract law: A comparative law and economics approach
AuthorsGramcheva, L.
Abstract

This thesis challenges the traditional view of national contract laws as facilitative regimes and argues that contract law on the national level has been progressively re-oriented to perform an efficiency-driven regulatory function. To develop the argument the thesis studies the contract law remedial regime of two common law and one civil law jurisdiction – the US, England and Bulgaria, in two specific contracts – the sale-of-goods and the construction contract. The introductory chapter puts the main theme in context and outlines the project. Exploring the limits of promissory theory and neoclassical economics, the second chapter develops an innovative interdisciplinary methodology joining the new institutional economics with the comparative law method. The third, fourth and fifth chapters offer taxonomies of remedies, types of contracts and remedial effects to set the stage for a meaningful comparison across the different legal traditions. Since economic theory has advanced most in the study of incentives generated by damages, the third chapter focuses on the latter remedy and shows that the common law classification of damage measures (expectation, reliance, restitution), on which traditional law-and-economics accounts are based, can be applied to study a civil law jurisdiction like Bulgaria. Distinguishing discrete and long-term contracts and demonstrating that the differentiation between sale-of-goods and construction contracts in the compared national legal systems does not necessarily go along the lines of the discrete/long-term distinction in economics, the fourth chapter argues that the positive comparison should be made with an eye on the market for substitute performances even if the compared factual scenarios are classified under different legal categories in the different jurisdictions. For the uninitiated, the fifth chapter reconstructs and criticises the standard economic model rationalising damages as incentives. The final chapter applies the approach developed here to contractual termination. The exemplary analysis identifies trends in the compared legal systems and suggests that all of them converge in charging the termination remedy with a regulatory function. Finally, I generalise to make some bolder claims about contract law.

Sustainable Development Goals16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
LanguageEnglish
Department nameDepartment of Law
Institution nameEuropean University Institute
Publication dates
Print17 Dec 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited02 May 2023
Accepted17 Dec 2015
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.2870/494573
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