Law, Information, and Choice: Capitalizing on Heuristic Habits of Thought

HEURISTICS AND THE LAW, Engle and Gigerenzer, eds., MIT Press, 2006

Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 06-11

15 Pages Posted: 4 May 2006

See all articles by Chris Guthrie

Chris Guthrie

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Abstract

In this book chapter, which will appear in Heuristics and the Law (Engel and Gigerenzer, eds., MIT Press 2006), I observe that American law seeks to foster individual autonomy and choice by mandating information disclosure in many settings. Whether mandatory disclosure requirements succeed in fostering choice depends on whether the intended recipients of the information are able to use that information to make wise decisions. Empirical evidence suggests that individuals often make sound decisions using limited information, so lawmakers should contemplate requiring limited rather than full disclosures. By identifying the specific information to be disclosed, by requiring that the information be presented in a manner designed to attract attention and comprehension, and by imposing some limits on the total amount of information to be disclosed, lawmakers are perhaps more likely to enhance the recipients' autonomy and choice.

Keywords: mandatory disclosure, informed consent, judgment and decision making, heuristics and biases

Suggested Citation

Guthrie, Chris, Law, Information, and Choice: Capitalizing on Heuristic Habits of Thought. HEURISTICS AND THE LAW, Engle and Gigerenzer, eds., MIT Press, 2006; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 06-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=900133

Chris Guthrie (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-6823 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

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