Professor of Business Organization at Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona.

Affiliated Professor at the Barcelona School of Economics, Associate Researcher at the Fundación de Estudios de Economía Aplicada (Fedea) and Coordinator of the Free Market Forum. Prior to joining Pompeu Fabra and after graduating from the Universities of Oviedo and Rochester, I held positions at the Universities of Oviedo and León, and was John M. Olin Visiting Scholar in Law and Economics at Harvard Law School. I also taught at the Universities of Paris (I and X), Singapore Management University, Frankfurt, Autónoma de Madrid and Pablo de Olavide.


Most of my research analyzes the institutional bases that make firms and markets possible: from the most concrete, such as property titling and business regulation, to some of the most abstract, such as moral systems. Using various methods, from case analysis to mathematical and econometric models, this research aims to discover the organizational conditions that facilitate impersonal exchange, the best means for specializing resources and speeding up economic growth.

Main results

  • Role played by contractual allocation of decision rights in relational contracting such as franchising and retailing.
  • Theory of property rights based on the role of individual consent, and development of guidelines for organizing such institutions and for regulating conveyancing markets.
  • Cost and benefit framework for the regulation of auditing, with applications to auditor rotation and the provision of non-audit services.
  • Need to emphasize the value of legal services when simplifying business formalities.


My publications include articles in The Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Legal Analysis, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Journal of Institutional Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Industrial and Corporate Change, International Review of Law and Economics, Management and Organization Review, Land Use Policy, and Managerial and Decision Economics, and a dozen books, including Institutional Foundations of Impersonal Exchange: The Theory and Policy of Contractual Registries (Univ. of Chicago Press: 2012), The Economics of Audit Quality (Springer: Norwell, 1999) and Corporate Governance and Regulation (Alianza: Madrid, 1990).

I have also published three fully revised versions of a textbook —Firms, Markets and Institutions (Thompson: Cizur Menor, 2013), Contractual Theory of the Firm (Marcial Pons: Madrid, 1998), and The Economics of the Firm: A Contractual Approach (Ariel: Barcelona, 1990)— and numerous op-ed articles on topics related to my research in trade journals and newspapers, including The Objective, The Wall Street Journal, Expansión, Voz Populi, and El País. I have been invited to present my work at a variety of academic and policy forums (Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, European Commission, IDB, French Conseil d’Etat, Mont Pélerin Society, The World Bank, etc.).

New Institutional Economics

I was a member of the founding board of directors and served as President (2005-2006) of the Society for Organizational and Institutional Economics (SIOE; formerly, International Society for New Institutional Economics, ISNIE), an interdisciplinary enterprise promoted by R.H. Coase, D.C. North and O.E. Williamson, which aims “to explain what institutions are, how they arise, what purposes they serve, how they change and how—if at all—they should be reformed”.

Benito Arruñada


I served as editor for the Journal of Institutional Economics and Journal of Globalization, Competitiveness and Governability, and at the scientific committee of Universia Business Review. I am a member of the editorial board of the European Journal of Law and Economics and Review of Law and Economics and of the Board of Directors of the European School on New Institutional Economics.

Social engagement

Several pieces of my research have contributed to the public debate and to policymaking on, among other topics, the regulation of auditing and professional services, the organization of titling systems and the measurement and reform of the institutions that define the business environment.

I have also been retained as an expert by international firms and organizations, several national governments, parliamentary committees, and major law firms and consultancies in projects closely related to my research interests. These relate to specific problems of management, business regulation and contracting, regulatory and competition policy, as well as broader aspects of titling systems and reform of the business environment. Lately, I have published a weekly op-ed column in Voz Populi and, since December 2021, in The Objective.