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The Return Of Bargain: An Economic Theory Of How Standard Form Contracts Negotiation Between Businesses And Consumers, Jason S. Johnston Mar 2006

The Return Of Bargain: An Economic Theory Of How Standard Form Contracts Negotiation Between Businesses And Consumers, Jason S. Johnston

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This paper analyzes standard form contracts between firms and individual consumers (and borrowers). It presents a mix of anecdotal and empirical evidence from a large number of industries demonstrating a widespread pattern in which firms refrain from enforcing the typically clear bright line performance obligations that such standard form contracts set out (such as a consumer credit repayment terms, or a retail consumer's right to return goods). Instead, firms routinely give their supervisory employees the discretion to bargain around such terms. Within a simple and informal model, the paper explains such delegated, discretionary renegotiation as a means by which ...