When and Why Individuals Obey Contracts: Experimental Evidence of Consent, Compliance, Promise, and Performance
This article reports the results of an online experiment that suggest that individuals are more likely to comply with contracts they participated in negotiating (even marginally) than with ones they did not and that preconsent notice of a contract term increases the likelihood of compliance with that term. The experiment also measures the relative effectiveness of four framings (legal, moral, social, and instrumental) of requests to continue to perform an undesirable task/contract term, as compared to a generic request in the absence of a contract. The moral framing was the most effective at inducing performance. A positivistic legal framing (absent monetary sanctions) was significantly less effective than were other framings and only marginally less so than was a generic request to continue performing the task in the absence of a contract.
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- Bhattacharjee, Sudip & Gopal, Ram D & Lertwachara, Kaveepan & Marsden, James R, 2006. "Impact of Legal Threats on Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis of Music Industry Legal Actions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 91-114, April.
- Craswell, Richard, 1988. "Precontractual Investigation as an Optimal Precaution Problem," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 401-436, June.
- Yannis Bakos & Florencia Marotta-Wurgler & David R. Trossen, 2009. "Does Anyone Read the Fine Print? Testing a Law and Economics Approach to Standard Form Contracts," Working Papers 09-04, NET Institute, revised Aug 2009.
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