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Equity, Efficiency, and Ethics in Remedies for Breach of Contract

Theory and Experimental Evidence

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  • © 2022


  • Offers an in-depth analysis of causes and consequences of conflict resulting from breach of contract
  • Provides empirical evidence revealing important functions performed by remedies for breach of contract
  • Presents a comparative legal and economic analysis of American, French, German, and British remedies

Part of the book series: International Law and Economics (ILEC)

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About this book

This book analyzes the conflict that emerges between parties after a breach of contract and how different legal remedies can best reduce conflict. Causes for conflict include equity, efficiency, and ethical reasons that parties might consider and use to blame the other or to justify breach. In the end, if not resolved through apologies or renegotiation, conflict leads to aggrievement and behavioral reactions in form of retaliation by the victim against the promisor in breach. 

The book provides empirical evidence from laboratory experiments for how individuals react to perceived wrongful acts such as breach of contract and for the function of legal remedies to reduce retaliation by disappointed promisees in providing them compensation. It reveals how the inequality in the outcome, and not the inefficiency of breach of contract, causes aggrievement and retaliation by victims. The book concludes with a comparative law and economic analysis of remedies for breach of contract adopted in different leading jurisdictions, with important normative implications for the American insistence on expectation damages, the French expansion of specific performance with "astreinte", the German junction of specific performance, expectation damages, and disgorgement damages, and the British timid acceptance of partial disgorgement damages.

The book will appeal to scholars, researchers, and students of economics and law, interested in a better understanding of remedies for breach of contract.

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Table of contents (7 chapters)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fundação Getulio Vargas Law School in São Paulo (FGV Direito SP), São Paulo, Brazil

    Sergio Mittlaender

About the author

​Sergio Mittlaender is a professor of law at FGV Direito SP in São Paulo, Brazil, and a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy in Munich, Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in law and economics from the Universities of Bologna, Hamburg, and Rotterdam. His research focuses on private law, especially in contracts and torts, social law, and public policies against corruption and discrimination. His research approach is empirical, adopting methods such as field and laboratory experiments, as well as theoretical, focusing on the economic analysis of law, behavioral economics, and game theory. Mittlaender's articles have been published in renowned national and international publications, such as Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, American Law & Economics Review, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Public Choice, and Journal of Economic Psychology.

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