Standard Form Contracts

9 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 1997

See all articles by Avery W. Katz

Avery W. Katz

Columbia University - Law School


Among legal commentators, standard form contracts have long been received with distrust, and the rules governing their interpretation have engendered considerable controversy. While economic analysis has little to say regarding the libertarian objection to standard form contracts or their relationship to personal autonomy, it can help evaluate their effects on efficiency and the distribution of the gains from trade. From such a perspective, standard forms should be analyzed like any other productive input, comparable to design, marketing, and technical support. Whether their use raises any special regulatory or policy concerns, therefore, depends on their implications for the standard litany of market failures: scale economies, monopoly, externalities, imperfect information, and the like. This essay surveys and discusses such implications, concluding that a measure of special legal treatment for form contracts is appropriate on economic grounds.

JEL Classification: K12

Suggested Citation

Katz, Avery W., Standard Form Contracts. Available at SSRN: or

Avery W. Katz (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States
212-854-0066 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics