Comparative contract law and economic analysis (ECON901_EIBL)

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CM : 20h


The objective of the course ‘Comparative Contract Law in context of economic analysis’ is to allow the deepening of knowledge in the area of comparative contract law, which would enable students to deal with the legal and practical problems that arise in the course of formation and performance of the various business contracts with an international element, as well as to develop skills of applying methods of comparative legal analysis and economic analysis. Upon the completion of the course the students should be able to compare the core features of contract law in continental and common law systems in the following areas: formation, invalidity of contracts, interpretation, performance and defective performance of contracts, the rights of third parties, breach of contract and available remedies; they also should have the necessary knowledge to explain the main economic problems that are addressed by contract law rules, and to describe the alternative ways of tackling these problems as well as their advantages and disadvantages.


  • Ability to explain the economic rationale and consequences of the different regulation of contractual relations existing within the number of European jurisdictions belonging to the different legal traditions; also ability to independantly analyse and explicate the fundamental features of the European regulation of contract law (if any) and its potential influence on the transnational business in Europe as compared to other developed economies (ie the US).
  • Thorough knowledge of the main parts of contract law and clear understanding of their functions; ablity to use the functional compartaive analysis and the set of the basic economic analysis methods with regard to examining the legal rules and judicial decisions; ability to explain the limits and advantages of the forementioned methods and the ways of their practical application for tackling the problems of contract law arising in different jurisdictions.
  • Ability to identify the non-legal purposes of entering into contracts and potential non-legal and related legal problems (eg opportunistic behaviour of the other party; monitoring costs; problems arising due to the presence of the international element, etc.); ability to use the comparative and economic analysis in order to identify the alternative legal instruments for minimising the economic problems arising during the different stages of performing the contract, and to choose the most appropriate solution while taking into account its potential economic costs and benefits.
  • Ability to critically analyse and explain the basic economic structure of the various parts of contract law, compare the relevant regulation existing in different jurisdictions and independently evaluate drawbacks and benefits of different approaches; ability to provide rational and economically substantiated suggestions (taking into account the economic costs, etc.) regarding the potential improvements of the regulation, thereby contributing to the improvement of the general business environment.

Plan du cours

  1. Basic concepts of economic analysis
  2. Does the freedom of contract still exist?
  3. Negotiating the contract
  4. Forming the agreement
  5. Dealing with a defective contract
  6. Consideration, impossibility and other similar mechanisms
  7. Dealing with changes in circumstances
  8. Discharge of contract
  9. Excluding or limiting liability
  10. Remedies



  1. Atiyah, P.; The Rise and Fall of Freedom of Contract, Oxford: Clarendon, 1985
  2. Atiyah, P.; An introduction to the law of contract, Oxford: Clarendon, 1995
  3. Barnes D.; Stout L.; The economics of contract law, West, 1992
  4. Buckley, F. H., The Fall and Rise of Freedom of Contract, Duke University Press, 1999
  5. Cooter, R.; Ulen, T. Law and Economics, 6th edn. Boston (Mass.); London: Addison-Wesley, 2012;
  6. Dnes A.; The economics of Law, Thomson, 2005
  7. Farnsworth, E.A. United States Contract Law, rev. edn. Juris Publishing, 1999;
  8. Levasseur, A.; Comparative law of contracts, Cases and materials, Caroluna Academic press, 2008
  9. McKendrick, E. Contract Law, 9th edn. Palgrave Macmillan, 2011;
  10. Posner, R.A. Economic Analysis of Law, 7th ed. New York: Aspen Publishers, 2007;
  11. Reimann, M.; Zimmermann, R. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law. Oxford University Press, 2006.
  12. Stone, R.; The modern law of contract, Cavendish, 2005


  1. Ayres, I.; Gertner R. Filling Gaps in Incomplete Contracts: An Economic Theory of Default Rules. Yale Law Journal. 1989, 99: 87-130;
  2. Ayres, I.; Gertner R. Strategic Contractual Inefficiency and the Optimal Choice of Legal Rules. Yale Law Journal. 1992, 101: 729-773;
  3. Baird, D.G. The Boilerplate Puzzle. Michigan Law Review. 2006, 104: 933-952;
  4. Becker, G.S. Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behaviour. The Journal of Political Economy. 1993, 101 (3): 385-409;
  5. Coase, R.H. The Problem of Social Cost. The Journal of Law and Economics. 1960, 3: 1-44;
  6. Charny, D. Hypothetical Bargains: The Normative Structure of Contract Interpretation. Michigan Law Review. 1991, 89: 1815-1879;
  7. Coleman, J.; Heckathorn, D.D.; Maser, S.M. A Bargaining Theory Approach to Default Provisions and Disclosure Rules in Contract Law. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. 1989, 12: 639-709;
  8. Craswell, R. Contract Remedies, Renegotiation, and the Theory of Efficient Breach. Southern California Law Review. 1988, 61: 629-670;
  9. Craswell, R. Contract Law, Default Rules, and the Philosophy of Promising. Michigan Law Review. 1989, 88 (3): 489-529;
  10. D’Ursel, L. « L’Analyse Économique du Droit des Contrats. » Revue Interdisciplinaire d’Etudes Juridiques. 1985, 14: 45-88;
  11. Epstein, R.A. Unconscionability: A Critical Reappraisal. Journal of Law and Economics. XVIII (2): 293-315;
  12. Epstein, R.A. Beyond Foreseeability: Consequential Damages in the Law of Contract. Journal of Legal Studies. 1989, XVIII (1): 105-138;
  13. Farber, D.A. Contract Law and Modern Economic Theory. Northwestern University Law Review. 1983, 78: 303-339;
  14. Friedmann, D. The Efficient Breach Fallacy. Journal of Legal Studies. 1989, 18: 1-24;
  15. Goetz, C.J.; Scott, R.E. Liquidated Damages, Penalties and the Just Compensation Principle: Some Notes on an Enforcement Model and a Theory of Efficient Breach. Columbia Law Review. 1977, 77: 554-594;
  16. Goetz, C.J.; Scott, R.E. Enforcing Promises: An Examination of the Basis of Contract. Yale Law Journal. 1980, 89: 1261-1300;
  17. Hart, O.; Moore, J. Foundations of Incomplete Contracts. Review of Economic Studies. 1999, 66 (1): 115-138;
  18. Kornhauser, L.A. An Introduction to the Economic Analysis of Contract Remedies. Colorado Law Review. 1986, 57: 683-725;
  19. Mousseron, J.M. « La Gestion des Risques par le Contrat. » Revue trimestrielle de Droit Civil. 1987: 481 ff;
  20. Posner, E.A. Contract Law in the Welfare State: A Defense of the Unconscionability Doctrine, Usury Laws, and Related Limitations on the Freedom to Contract. Journal of Legal Studies. 1995, 24: 283-319;
  21. Posner, E.A. Economic Analysis of Contract Law After Three Decades: Success or Failure? Yale Law Journal. 2003, 112 (4): 829-880;
  22. Posner, R.A.; Rosenfield, A.M. Impossibility and Related Doctrines in Contract Law: An Economic Analysis. Journal of Legal Studies. 1977, 6: 83-118;
  23. Rasmusen, E.; Ayres, I. Mutual and Unilateral Mistake in Contract Law. Journal of Legal Studies. 1993, 22: 309-343;
  24. Schwartz, A.; Wilde, L.L. Intervening in Markets on the Basis of Imperfect Information: A Legal and Economic Analysis. University of Pennsylvania Law Review. 1979, 127 (3): 630-682;
  25. Schwartz, A. The Case for Specific Performance. Yale Law Journal. 1979, 89 (2): 271-306;
  26. Schwartz, A. Relational Contracts in the Courts: An Analysis of Incomplete Agreements and Judicial Strategies. Journal of Legal Studies. 1992, 21: 271-318;
  27. Schwartz, A. The Default Rule Paradigm and the Limits of Contract Law. Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal. 1993, 3: 389-419;
  28. Scott, R.E. A Relational Theory of Default Rules for Commercial Contracts. Journal of Legal Studies. 1990, 19: 597-616;
  29. Scott, R.E.; Triantis G.G. Embedded Options and the Case Against Compensation in Contract Law. Columbia Law Review. 2004, 104: 1428-1491;
  30. Teubner, G. Legal Irritants: Good Faith in British Law or How Unifying Law Ends Up in New Differences. Modern Law Review. 1998, 11;
  31. Triantis, G.G. Contractual Allocation of Unknown Risks: A Critique of the Doctrine of Commercial Impracticability. University of Toronto Law Journal. 1992, 42: 450-483;
  32. White, M.J. Contract Breach and Contract Discharge due to Impossibility: A Unified Theory. Journal of Legal Studies. 1988, 17: 353-376;
  33. Williamson, O.E. Transaction Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractual Relations. Journal of Law and Economics. 1979, 22: 233 ff.

Diplômes intégrant ce cours

En bref

Crédits ECTS : 5

Méthode d'enseignement
En présence

Langue d'enseignement


UFR, Écoles, Instituts


Christophe Quezel-Ambrunaz

Tél : +33 4 79 75 84 82

Email : Christophe.Quezel-Ambrunaz @


  • Chambéry (domaine universitaire de Jacob-Bellecombette - 73)

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