Product Use Information and the Limits of Voluntary Disclosure

38 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2010 Last revised: 22 Jun 2011

See all articles by Oren Bar-Gill

Oren Bar-Gill

Harvard Law School

Oliver J. Board

New York University School of Law

Date Written: June 14, 2011


Concern about asymmetric information in markets for consumer goods and services has focused on product attribute information. We highlight the importance of another category of information - product use information. In important markets, sellers have better information about how a consumer will use their product or service than the consumer herself. Moreover, we show that the classic unraveling results do not extend to product use information, and thus sellers are less likely to voluntarily disclose this type of information. Our findings have important policy implications: While most disclosure mandates target product attribute information, our analysis suggests that mandating disclosure of product use information may be more important. Indeed, policymakers are beginning to recognize the importance of product use disclosures.

Suggested Citation

Bar-Gill, Oren and Board, Oliver James, Product Use Information and the Limits of Voluntary Disclosure (June 14, 2011). NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-50, Available at SSRN: or

Oren Bar-Gill (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Oliver James Board

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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