European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 131–153 | Cite as

Private ordering, collective action, and the self-enforcing range of contracts

  • Armelle MazéEmail author
  • Claude Ménard


Contract enforcement is acknowledged as a major issue in Law and in Economics. Contrasting substitution and complementary perspectives with respect to the role of private vs. public enforcement institutions, this article analyses how contract law can support private institutions, and enhance economic efficiency. With multilateral agreements at stake, self-regulation and reputation mechanisms at the core of private ordering have limitations that collective organizations backed by the Law help to overcome. The analysis is substantiated by empirical data from the cattle industry. Our results suggest the need for a broader approach to contract regulation by legal scholars and antitrust-authorities.


Contract law Private enforcement Transaction costs Self-regulation Coalitions Cartels Collective organization 

JEL Classification

K12 D23 D74 L14 Q13 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INRA SAD-APTParis Cedex 05France
  2. 2.Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne - Université de Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne)Paris Cedex 13France

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