Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law
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Handbook of Research on International Consumer Law

Edited by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay, Thomas Wihelmsson and David Kraft

Consumer law and policy has emerged in the last half-century as a major policy concern for all nations. This Handbook of original contributions provides an international and comparative analysis of central issues in consumer law and policy in developed and developing economies.
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Chapter 13: Regulation of Consumer Credit

Iain Ramsay


Iain Ramsay* 1. Introduction Consumer credit – particularly sales credit – is not a modern invention,1 but there was often disapproval of borrowing for consumption rather than production. There probably remains a perception that credit is a slightly dangerous product – a perception that might seem to be confirmed by the sub-prime mortgage debacle – and that is reflected in the requirement of ex ante control by some governments of suppliers’ access to the credit market.2 * Thanks to Geraint Howells, David Kraft, Elaine Kempson, John Pottow and Toni Williams for comments. 1 There is now a substantial historical literature. For the US see for example L. Calder (1999), Financing the American Dream: A Cultural History of Consumer Credit, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press and sources cited in Lizabeth Cohen (2003), A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass-consumption in Postwar America, New York: Knopf. In the UK see for example M. Finn (2003), The Character of Credit, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; P. Johnson (1985), Saving and Spending: The Working-class Economy in Britain 1870–1939, Oxford: Oxford University Press; C. Muldrew (1998), The Economy of Obligation, London: Macmillan; S. O’Connell and C. Reid (2005), ‘Working Class Credit in the UK, 1925–60: The Role of the Check Trader’, Economic History Review 378–405; S. O’Connell (2009), Credit and Community: Working-Class Debt in the UK since 1880, Oxford: Oxford University Press; S.E. Brown (2006), ‘Consumer Credit and Over-indebtedness: Past, Present and Future’, Ph.D. thesis, Leeds University. For general histories see the polemical text by R.M. Gelpi...

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