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Functionalism and Political Economy in the Comparative Study of Consumer Insolvency: An Unfinished Story from England and Wales


Iain D. C. Ramsay


University of Kent, Canterbury - Kent Law School


Theoretical Inquiries in Law, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
This article is divided into two parts. The first part reflects on the dominant functionalist approach to comparative consumer bankruptcy and suggests that this might be supplemented by a political economy analysis that addresses the role of national and international interest groups, including professionals, and ideology in understanding different national responses to overindebtedness in North America and Europe. The second part examines current reforms to consumer bankruptcy and responses to overindebtedness in the UK through this political economy lens and concludes that competition among professional groups, the role and interests of the Insolvency Service, and the ideology of the Third Way in consumer policy will influence the ultimate structure adopted for addressing consumer insolvency. A study of the English experience suggests that there is also an element of national path dependency to consumer insolvency reform that may resist pressures towards convergence of approaches between countries in addressing issues of consumer insolvency.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: consumer bankruptcy, comparative law, England and Wales

JEL Classification: K30, K39, N40

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Date posted: May 10, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Ramsay, Iain D. C., Functionalism and Political Economy in the Comparative Study of Consumer Insolvency: An Unfinished Story from England and Wales. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=900419

Contact Information

Iain D. C. Ramsay (Contact Author)
University of Kent, Canterbury - Kent Law School ( email )
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NS
United Kingdom
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