Experimental Evidence of the Relationship between Reading the Fine Print and Performance of Form-Contract Terms
Zev J. Eigen
Northwestern University School of Law
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Forthcoming
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 11-58
Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 11-24
Recent empirical research has established what many assumed - few people read form-contracts. This research employs an online experimental design to fill gaps in the literature by asking two important questions: (1) To what extent does information about the exchange beyond the contract substitute for information in the contract, such that more external information reduces contract reading? (2) Is there a relationship between form-contract readership and contract performance? Results suggest that individuals spend almost three times more time reviewing form-contracts when less information is provided outside the contract, and that greater time spent reviewing form-contracts is associated with increased contract performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: contract, form-contract, adhesive, consumer, web, online, experiment, experimental, fine print, boilerplate
Date posted: August 5, 2011 ; Last revised: January 27, 2012
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