The paradox of legal harmonization

Emanuela Carbonara, Francesco Parisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The legal landscape is changing, adapting to the global market. Differences between legal systems hinder transnational commerce. Countries reduce legal differences through non-cooperative and cooperative adaptation processes that alternatively lead to legal transplantation or harmonization. Switching costs render unification difficult. Cooperation reduces differences to a greater extent but rarely leads to legal unification. In this paper we unveil a paradox of legal harmonization. When switching costs are endogenous, countries engaging in cooperative harmonization may end up with less harmonization than those pursuing non-cooperative strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-400
Number of pages34
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Legal change
  • Legal harmonization
  • Legal transplantation
  • Transnational contracts


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