Scholars widely agree that long-term economic growth requires a legal system providing for rule of law, contract enforcement and impersonal exchange. In this paper, we address a piece of this broad issue by studying the question, what is law? Drawing on other work (Hadfield & Weingast 2011), we argue that law has developed its distinctive structure, at least in part, to coordinate beliefs among diverse individuals and thus improve the efficacy of decentralized rule enforcement systems. In this paper we apply the framework of this coordination account of law to the emergence of medieval contract law and to constitutional law.
Contracts | Economics | Law and Economics
Date of this Version
Gillian K. Hadfield and Barry R. Weingast, "Endogenous Institutions: Law as a Coordinating Device" (December 2011). University of Southern California Law and Economics Working Paper Series. Working Paper 141.