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The Consumer Welfare Hypothesis in Law and Economics

Towards a Synthesis for the 21st Century

9781800379640 Edward Elgar Publishing
Fabrizio Esposito, Assistant Professor in Private Law, NOVA School of Law, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal
Publication Date: November 2022 ISBN: 978 1 80037 964 0 Extent: c 240 pp
The Consumer Welfare Hypothesis in Law and Economics is a compelling account of market relations with firm roots in economic theory and legal practice. This incisive book challenges the mainstream view that allocative efficiency is about total welfare maximisation. Instead, it argues for the consumer welfare hypothesis, in which allocating resources efficiently means maximising consumer welfare, and demonstrates that legal structures such as antitrust and consumer law are in reality designed and practised with this goal in mind.

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The Consumer Welfare Hypothesis in Law and Economics is a compelling account of market relations with firm roots in economic theory and legal practice. This incisive book challenges the mainstream view that allocative efficiency is about total welfare maximisation. Instead, it argues for the consumer welfare hypothesis, in which allocating resources efficiently means maximising consumer welfare, and demonstrates that legal structures such as antitrust and consumer law are in reality designed and practised with this goal in mind.

Using this paradigm, Fabrizio Esposito overcomes the opposition between efficiency and distribution and provides a firmer basis for debates about the foundations of contract law, antitrust law and consumer law, particularly in the European Union. The outcome is a bilateral view of the connection between the law and the economy and a rich research agenda to further understanding of the legal-economic nexus.

Scholars and students of law and economics, as well as contract, consumer and antitrust and competition law will find this book a thought-provoking study. Its innovative yet straightforward conceptual framework will also be of interest to practitioners, policymakers and stakeholders in these fields.
Critical Acclaim
‘This original work offers a distinctive contribution to several strands of literature and methodological debates including EU consumer law, EU competition law, Law and economics and Quantitative study of jurisprudence. I am convinced that this will be an important and often cited book.’
– Anne-Lise Sibony, UCLouvain School of Law, Belgium

‘I have not often seen such an original, at the same time practically important and very concise and stringent work. I could not imagine one part in this book that should be deleted or that is less important. At the same time, I could not imagine a part that I would still want to see. It is an outstanding addition to the literature on law and economics.’
– Stefan Grundmann, Humboldt Universität, Germany and European University Institute, Italy
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