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More Than You Wanted to KnowThe Failure of Mandated Disclosure$
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Omri Ben-Shahar and Carl E. Schneider

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161709

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161709.001.0001

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At Worst, Harmless?

At Worst, Harmless?

(p.169) Chapter 11 At Worst, Harmless?
More Than You Wanted to Know

Omri Ben-Shahar

Carl E. Schneider

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that mandated disclosure not only can be costly but also can inflict unintended and unnoticed harms. Mandates impose various direct costs on both disclosers and disclosees. For example, disclosers expend resources in collecting elusive information. Some disclosers must mail disclosures to thousands of disclosees annually or even more often. In addition, many transactions are nontrivially prolonged by disclosure rituals. The chapter considers the ways that mandated disclosure can undermine other regulation and ease pressure on lawmakers to enact better but more controversial regulation, such as the courts' ability to protect injured consumers, regulatory protection in consumer law, rules against unconscionable contracts, and people's ability to protect themselves. It also examines how disclosures make decisions worse, harm lenders and markets, and exacerbate inequality. Finally, it shows how mandated disclosure can impede efforts to ease suffering, cure illness, improve welfare, and prevent deaths.

Keywords:   mandated disclosure, regulation, lawmakers, consumers, consumer law, contracts, decisions, lenders, markets, inequality

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