Even More Than You Wanted to Know About the Failures of Disclosure
Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies, Forthcoming
13 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2014 Last revised: 23 Feb 2016
Date Written: November 21, 2014
Nobody reads fine print — even when it matters. The most common regulatory approach to attenuate the (perceived) problem of non-readership has long been mandatory disclosure. Despite it’s theoretical appeal, disclosure has not been found to be fully effective in practice. In More Than You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosure, Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl Schneider offer the first systematic critique of disclosure regulation in all of its forms, including the latest innovations. This essay reviews the book by focusing on two points. First, it offers fresh evidence on the failure of mandated disclosure by looking at changes in disclosure over time in a common consumer contract, software End User License Agreements (EULAs). The evidence suggests that many of the problems identified by Ben-Shahar and Schneider have only worsened over time. In particular, during the past decade, the average EULA became more accessible and became longer and less buyer-friendly. It also remained highly complex. Second, it pushes back on the claim that consumers crave advice and not data and argues that relying on intermediaries to inform consumers about suffers from many of the problems the authors identify with disclosure regulation.
Keywords: disclosure, fine print, boilerplate, consumer contracts
JEL Classification: D12, D18, K00, K12, L81
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation