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Contract Law, Relational Contracts, and Reputational Networks in International Trade: An Empirical Investigation into Cross‐Border Contracts in the Software Industry

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The following case study investigates the contract enforcement institutions that enable German customers to purchase software in Asia and Eastern Europe. The case study shows that nation‐states are hardly able to generate a legal “shadow” for cross‐border business relations. The same holds true for the so‐called New Lex Mercatoria. Instead, economic actors create their own informal mechanisms. Relational contracts and reputational networks are nowadays far more effective due to developments in the field of information and communication technology. Overall, the importance of formal contract law in international trade is even smaller than is assumed by the classic theory of relational contracts.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of European and Comparative Law at the University of Oxford

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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