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The Limits of Freedom of Contract

The Limits of Freedom of Contract

Michael J. Trebilcock

ISBN 9780674534308

Publication date: 03/25/1997

Our legal system is committed to the idea that private markets and the law of contracts that supports them are the primary institutions for allocating goods and services in a modern economy. Yet the market paradigm, this book argues, leaves substantial room for challenge. For example, should people be permitted to buy and sell blood, bodily organs, surrogate babies, or sexual favors? Is it fair to allow people with limited knowledge about a transaction and its consequences to enter into it without guidance from experts?


  • This illuminating book explores under what conditions legal enforcement of contracts will promote both individual autonomy and social welfare...Trebilcock provides here the most nuanced and sustained analysis of what it means for private agreements to be sufficiently voluntary and informed to further either Paretian or Kaldor-Hicks notions of social welfare...Readers will respect the compassion and care Trebilcock brings to this subject matter...This is law and economics with a human face.

    —Ian Ayres, Journal of Economic Literature


  • Michael J. Trebilcock is Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Economics Program at the University of Toronto.

Book Details

  • 310 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press