Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1134798
 
 

Citations (6)



 


 



Consumer Sovereignty: A Unified Theory of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law


Robert H. Lande


University of Baltimore - School of Law

Neil W. Averitt


Federal Trade Commission


Antitrust Law Journal, Vol. 65, p. 713, 1997

Abstract:     
This article is about the relationship between antitrust and consumer protection law. Its purpose is to define each area of law, to delineate the boundary between them, to show how they interact with each other, and to show how they ultimately support one another as the two component parts of an overarching unity: effective consumer choice (also called consumer sovereignty).

Consumer choice only is effective when two fundamental conditions are present. There must be a range of consumer options made possible through competition, and consumers must be able to choose effectively mong these options. The antitrust laws are intended to ensure that the marketplace remains competitive, unimpaired by practices such as price fixing or anticompetitive mergers. The consumer protection laws are then intended to ensure that consumers can choose effectively from among those options, with their critical faculties unimpaired by such violations as deception or the withholding of material information. Protection at both levels is needed to ensure that a market economy can continue to operate effectively.

Legal protection of this sort is required only when the free market is not working properly. This article will demonstrate that antitrust violations stem from market failures in the general marketplace external to consumers, whereas consumer protection violations flow from market failures that take place, in a sense, "inside the consumer's heads."

This approach provides a coherent theoretical platform from which antitrust and consumer protection law may be better understood and applied. It also has significant practical consequences, many of which are explored in this article. This article is a companion piece to "Using the Consumer Choice to Antitrust Law," 74 Antitrust Law Journal 175 (2007), which can be found at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1121459.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 33

Keywords: consumer protection, consumer, antitrust, antitrust goals, consumer choice, efficiency

JEL Classification: K21, K23, L4

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: May 19, 2008 ; Last revised: September 17, 2008

Suggested Citation

Lande, Robert H. and Averitt, Neil W., Consumer Sovereignty: A Unified Theory of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law. Antitrust Law Journal, Vol. 65, p. 713, 1997. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1134798

Contact Information

Robert H. Lande (Contact Author)
University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )
1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
Neil W. Averitt
Federal Trade Commission ( email )
601 New Jersey Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20580
United States
202-326-2885 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.ftc.gov
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 2,851
Downloads: 758
Download Rank: 17,015
Citations:  6

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo3 in 0.547 seconds