The Evolution of Legal Business Forms in Europe and the United States: Venture Capital, Joint Venture and Partnership Structures
By examining the economic theories of the firm and the economics of organization choice, The Evolution of Legal Business Forms in Europe and the United States conceives partnership-type business forms as contractual entities. The key feature of the modern partnership form is that partners have significant flexibility and power to limit their liability, transfer all of their rights, and to freely exit the firm. Another key feature of partnership law is the insight that lawmakers should provide the rules and enforcement mechanisms to regulate the important relationships within the partnership. This book applies an efficiency test to determine which sets of default rules are likely to resolve the main problems in partnerships.
Having identified partnership law with the economic theory of organization, The Evolution of Legal Business Forms in Europe and the United States then goes to argue that most of partnership law is directed at offering bundles of legal rules for different types of firms. Lawmakers should promote partnership rules that attract investors and can be expected to be efficient if they allow entrepreneurs to freely select the bundle of rules that best match their priorities. In a modern vision of partnership law, lawmakers promote economic welfare through creating non-mandatory rules that allow multiple businesses to switch to a favourable business form without significant costs. Jurisdictions plagued by falling incorporations and low levels of small and medium business activity, should abandon the mandatory and standardized framework and the `lock in¿ effect that it promotes, and focus on the mechanisms of legal evolution and rules that tend to mimic the market. This innovation work will have ramifications felt across European jurisdictions, and will be debated by a large audience of policymakers and academic lawyers involved in law reform. Moreover, the book will receive serious attention from students of law and economics, as well as practising lawyers involved in resolving complex issues of organizational law.
Review (s) ¿Vermeulen¿s work makes a significant contribution to the dialogue between legal scholars and policy makers from Europe and the United States on the matter of business entity law reform. The volume is ambitious in scope, thoughtful in approach, and accurate in result. It shows a well-read and nuanced view of the recent American partnership law reform debates. He moves with assurance between different systems of law and analysis, and has a confident sense of what his diverse readers need to know to come to the ultimate discussion with a common sense of the issues and alternatives at hand. Vermeulen¿s work should serve as a starting point for a robust discussion among scholars and policy makers.¿
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