Experimental Evidence of the Relationship between Reading the Fine Print and Performance of Form-Contract Terms

20 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2011 Last revised: 27 Jan 2012

Zev J. Eigen

Littler Mendelson

Abstract

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.

Keywords: contract, form-contract, adhesive, consumer, web, online, experiment, experimental, fine print, boilerplate

Suggested Citation

Eigen, Zev J., Experimental Evidence of the Relationship between Reading the Fine Print and Performance of Form-Contract Terms. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, Forthcoming; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 11-58; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 11-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1905782

Zev J. Eigen (Contact Author)

Littler Mendelson

2049 Century Park E
Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90067
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.littler.com/people/dr-zev-j-eigen

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