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The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly disrupted the performance of business contracts around the globe. But does COVID-19 meet the requirements of a force majeure event, relieving contracting parties from their obligations? Using a sample of 621 joint venture (JV) contracts, we address this question by proposing a typology of force majeure clause specificity and identifying factors that affect the likelihood of a force majeure clause being included in a JV contract. Managerial recommendations are made for businesses and their partners dealing with disruptions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as regarding the inclusion of force majeure in business contracts.

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