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


  • Zev J. Eigen


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, so 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Zev J. Eigen, 2012. "Experimental Evidence of the Relationship between Reading the Fine Print and Performance of Form-Contract Terms," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(1), pages 124-141, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(201203)168:1_124:eeotrb_2.0.tx_2-q

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    Cited by:

    1. Lior Jacob Strahilevitz & Matthew B. Kugler, 2016. "Is Privacy Policy Language Irrelevant to Consumers?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(S2), pages 69-95.
    2. Christoph Engel & Urs Schweizer, 2012. "Testing Contracts 29th International Seminar on the New Institutional Economics June 15-18, 2011, Krakow, Poland," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(1), pages 1-4, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law
    • K12 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Contract Law
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification


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