Behavioural Economics in Unfair Contract Terms
The domain of behavioural law and economics is winning increasing attention also in the field of consumer policy. How the insights of behavioural law and economics can be used in policy remains, to a large extent, unclear. In this article, the following question is asked: "To what extent can the insights from the behavioural literature be applied in a way to formulate concrete suggestions to policy makers?" The authors show that many of the findings of the behavioural literature are very context-specific and hence apply only with respect to particular products or services and particular consumer groups. Formulating general policy conclusions is therefore difficult. However, as far as the specific domain of standard form contracts is concerned, the authors argue that the behavioural literature has shown that the traditional remedy (mostly resulting from information economics), being to focus on information disclosure will not be able to remedy market failures resulting from failing information and the "signing-without-reading-problem." Hence, more substantive forms of intervention in standard form contracts (e.g., resulting from collective bargaining) may be indicated as a remedy.