Consumer Protection Policies, Economics, and Interactions with Competition Policy

Paul Pautler, Apr 24, 2008

The Spring 2008 issue of Competition Policy International features four papers focusing on consumer protection policy. The papers by Armstrong, Beales, Rubin, and Tesauro & Russo present a tour of the logical basis for consumer protection policy and a review of the recent legal rules in the European Union and Italy. There is no book (yet) on consumer protection economics, but this collection of papers would make a nice start for such a text, particularly with regard to the advertising regulation component of consumer protection. There are some topics that cut across the various papers. I will discuss three of those topics:

  • 1) market-based incentives for firms to disclose information in markets;
  • 2) the application of behavioral economics in consumer policy; and
  • 3) the connections between consumer protection and competition policies at a practical level and at the more important conceptual level.

Before discussing these common elements, I provide a description of the papers.

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