Research Methods in Consumer Law


Research Methods in Consumer Law

A Handbook

9781785366604 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz, Professor for Economic Law, the European University Institute and Finland Distinguished Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland, Anne-Lise Sibony, Professor of European Law, UCLouvain, Belgium and Fabrizio Esposito, Assistant Professor in Private Law, NOVA School of Law, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
Publication Date: 2018 ISBN: 978 1 78536 660 4 Extent: 584 pp
Consumer law is worthy of greater academic attention at a time when many new questions arise and old ones need new answers. This unique handbook takes the reader on a journey through existing literature, research questions and methods. It builds on the state of the art to offer a springboard for jumping to the heart of contemporary issues and equips researchers with a starter’s kit to weave together rich traditions, ranging from socio-economics to behavioural analysis.

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European consumer law seeks to ensure that consumers receive sufficient information about goods and services, are not subject to unfair contract clauses or unfair commercial practices and have the means to redress grievances. This Handbook specifically considers the impacts of different disciplines and methods as it presents the state of the art in consumer law research and in particular offers intriguing new insights from behavioural science.

Research Methods in Consumer Law shows how different lenses help to highlight under-researched areas of consumer law and engage with current debates in order to suggest pertinent legal reforms. Rules meant to protect consumers are often premised on the fact that small print is read, understood and acted upon. Acknowledging that this is rarely the case, the expert contributors offer new perspectives, informed by the study of how real people behave and paying careful attention to methodology.

Offering the tools to engage in promising and socially useful legal research, this Handbook will appeal to students and scholars across the fields of law and behavioural science, as it offers a fresh look at the relation between EU consumer law and other disciplines oriented to solving practical problems.
Critical Acclaim
‘Consumer law has truly matured as an object of scholarly inquiry in recent years, in particular (but not only) through the embrace of sophisticated insights into real-life consumer behaviour as a basis for regulatory design. This book brings together writers who have been and remain at the forefront of intellectual inquiry, and it permits them to enrich thinking about patterns and styles of research into consumer law.’
– Stephen Weatherill, University of Oxford, UK

‘Containing inspiring contributions from distinguished scholars in the field, this book offers an eloquent and open-minded perspective on the highly topical behavioural turn in consumer law research. In doing so, it suggests a blended approach to research methodology, combining behavioural insights with doctrinal scholarship, economic analysis and socio-legal studies. Both the suggestions and the critique are based on a deep foundational understanding of the discipline.’
– Thomas K.J. Wilhelmsson, University of Helsinki, Finland

‘We are all consumers. And we are all directly affected by consumer law. This important, dynamic area of the law is the subject of Hans-W. Micklitz, Anne-Lise Sibony and Fabrizio Esposito’s Research Methods in Consumer Law. The editors have put together an impressive collection of essays that correctly focus on behavioral analysis as the state-of-the-art methodology in consumer law. The volume is both deep and broad, delving into the weeds of behavioral science and cutting across multiple applications of the methodology in different areas of consumer law. It should be of great interest to lawmakers, researchers, and practitioners.’
– Oren Bar-Gill, Harvard Law School, US

‘Research Methods in Consumer Law persuasively shows that not only medicine and doctors save lives, law can too. Consumer law has, for decades, been the Cinderella of the legal discipline; however, now it is increasingly afoot in Europe and beyond. Amid a favourable Zeitgeist, this unprecedented collection of foundational contributions offers a solid grounding to any legal scholar interested in pursuing theoretically rich and action-oriented research.’
– Alberto Alemanno, HEC Paris, France and founder of The Good Lobby
Contributors: M. Artigot Golobardes, F. Esposito, S. Frerichs, F. Gomez Pomar, P. Hacker, G. Helleringer, J. Luzak, M. Malecka, H.-W. Micklitz, F. Möslein, M. Nagatsu, K.P. Purnhagen, G. Rühl, A.-L. Sibony, J. Trzaskowski, F. Weber


1. The Bright and Adventurous Future of Consumer Law Research
Hans-W. Micklitz, Anne-Lise Sibony, Fabrizio Esposito

Part I Foundations of Behavioural Consumer Legal Research
2. Conceptual Foundations For a European Consumer Law and Behavioural Sciences Scholarship
Fabrizio Esposito

3. Nudging and Autonomy. A Philosophical and Legal Appraisal
Philipp Hacker

4. Rational Choice and Behavioural Approaches to Consumer Issues
Fernando Gómez Pomar1 and Mireia Artigot Golobardes

Part II Advances in Behavioural Consumer Legal Research
5. The role(s) of Empirical Research in Consumer Law and Consumer Law Scholarship
Anne-Lise Sibony

6. US behavioural consumer research
Franziska Weber

7. Who Calls the Tune? Stock Taking of Behavioural Consumer Protection in Europe
Joasia Luzak

8. Regulatory Validity
Kai Purnhagen

9. Behavioural Innovations in Marketing LawProfessor
Jan Trzaskowski

10. A Behavioural Perspective on Consumer Finance
Genevieve Helleringer

Part III Insights From Broader Perspectives
11. How Behavioural Research Has Informed Consumer Law: The Many Faces of Behavioural Research
Michiru Nagatsu and Magdalena Małecka

12. What Is the ‘Social’ in Behavioural Economics? The Methodological Underpinnings of Governance by Nudges
Sabine Frerichs

13. Behavioural Analysis and Socio-legal Research – Is Everything Architecture?
Florian Möslein

14. Behavioural Analysis and Comparative Law – Improving the Empirical Foundation for Comparative Legal Research
Giesela Rühl

15. The Politics of Behavioural Economics of Law
Hans-W. Micklitz

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