Behavioural Biases and Information Disclosure Laws Relating to Residential Property Sales: Narrowing the Gap between Existing Laws and Calls for Future Reforms

Sharon Christensen, William D Duncan, Amanda Stickley
2010 QUT Law Review  
2009) Behavioural biases and information disclosure laws relating to residential property sales : narrowing the gap between existing laws and calls for future reforms. Market failures involving the sale of complex merchandise, such as residential property, financial products and credit, have principally been attributed to information asymmetries. Existing legislative and regulatory responses were developed having regard to consumer protection policies based on traditional economic theories that
more » ... nomic theories that focus on the notion of the 'rational consumer'. Governmental responses therefore seek to impose disclosure obligations on sellers of complex goods or products to ensure that consumers have sufficient information upon which to make a decision. Emergent research, based on behavioural economics, challenges traditional ideas and instead focuses on the actual behaviour of consumers. This approach suggests that consumers as a whole do not necessarily benefit from mandatory disclosure because some, if not most, consumers do not pay attention to the disclosed information before they make a decision to purchase. The need for consumer policies to take consumer characteristics and behaviour into account is being increasingly recognised by governments, and most recently in the policy framework suggested by the Australian Productivity Commission 1 6 Ibid vol 1, vii. Comment about how the terms of reference were established under the Howard Government and it is still not clear how the Rudd Government will move things forward. 7
doi:10.5204/qutlr.v9i2.31 fatcat:xome5ag6z5c4pkdcfwrt7vtl6i