By H.P. Lovecraft
Pub. Date: October 2008Publisher: Sterling PublishingFormat: Hardcover , 1098pp
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Extra info for The Fiction: Complete and Unabridged (Library of Essential Writers)
Becker 1968; Cooter and Ulen 1988; Johnson et al. 2002). Formal legal institutions are powerless to deter malfeasance unless victims voluntarily seek their protection by reporting crime to authorities and by bringing legal suit against opportunistic breach of contract. 3 For a victim to involve legal institutions in the resolution of crimes and contractual disputes, the anticipated beneﬁts from legal action must outweigh the costs. At least four economic factors a¤ect the net expected utility gain from legal recourse: (1) the full cost of legal action, including lawyer’s fees, bribes to agents of authority, and the opportunity cost of the plainti¤ ’s time; (2) the expected time delay before compensation is received, which in turn depends on the speed with which legal institutions handle their case load; (3) the uncertainty surrounding expected compensation, which is a function of the ease with which perpetrators can be brought to justice, the complexity of the case, the availability of evidence, the impartiality of judges and police o‰cers, and the imprecision of the law and jurisprudence; and (4) the fear of reprisal from the other party, which itself depends on the e¤ectiveness of the incarceration system and the state’s zeal in punishing reprisal.
Traders, for instance, may refrain from buying and selling in insecure regions altogether, and farming in remote areas may be totally discouraged if farmers are incapable of protecting crops in the ﬁeld. 7 We brieﬂy discuss a few relevant results from that literature, beginning with adverse selection. Potential debtors di¤er in how likely they are to comply with a particular contract. Whenever their characteristics cannot be readily assessed, the potential for adverse selection arises: debtors of the wrong type may enter into a contract knowing that they are unlikely to satisfy their obligations but cannot be forced to comply.
As a result the debtor has better information about e than the creditor. In case of breach of contract, the debtor receives a payo¤ of 0 but incurs punishment. We consider four types of punishments that correspond to the categories discussed above: guilt, whose utility cost to the debtor is denoted Gðt; eÞ; various forms of coercive action including harassment, threats, and court action, whose cost to the debtor is denoted Pðt; e; CÞ; and two types of punishments based on repeated interaction: the suspension of future trade with the creditor resulting in the loss EV ðe; tÞ; and damage to the debtor’s reputation with other potential trading partners leading to a loss EW ðe; tÞ.