European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 473–480 | Cite as

Introduction to special issue: Harmonisation of contract law: an economic and behavioural perspective

  • Jan M. SmitsEmail author


The recent publication of the Draft Common Frame of Reference of European Private Law (DCFR)1 and the Feasibility Study of the Expert Group on European Contract Law2 have given even more impetus to the debate about a harmonised European contract law than existed before. While the idea of a harmonised contract law for the European Union is widely discussed among academics since at least a decade, it is now also part of a political discussion in which both the European institutions and the member states are playing an increasingly important role.

The debate about harmonisation of contract law is still primarily informed by legal arguments.3 What is often missing is a more broad-ranging perspective that opens up the discussion to arguments from the fields of economics and behavioral science. This state of affairs is to be criticised: in particular when it comes to the questions of the need for and the optimal design ofa European contract law, economics and psychology can...


Optional Instrument European Contract Legal Diversity Commercial Party Full Harmonisation 
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The financial support by The Hague Institute on the Internationalisation of Law (HiiL) is acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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