This book argues that mandated disclosure as a distinctive regulatory method routinely fails to achieve its ambitious goals. Describing “mandated disclosure” as perhaps the most common and least successful regulatory technique in American law, the book explains why it fails and cannot be fixed. Mandated disclosure has been crafted to help people making unfamiliar and complex decisions while dealing with specialists ranging from lenders and doctors to vendors and the police. However, its effectiveness is hampered by a number of problems, not least of which is the “quantity question,” which comprises the “overload” problem and the “accumulation” problem. This introductory chapter discusses the reasons why mandated disclosure is appealing, including the fact that it resonates with the fundamental American principles of free market and autonomy, as well as the reasons why it can be considered a failure.
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