Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz, Anne-Lise Sibony and Fabrizio Esposito
Chapter 13: Behavioural analysis and socio-legal research: is everything architecture?
References to the ‘architecture’ of European Consumer Law entail the risk of whitewashing potential differences in the conceptual, methodological and normative underpinnings of this field of law. Behavioural analysis has gained remarkable attraction with policy-makers, but it also has also largely replaced socio-legal research which used to accompany the making of European Consumer Law during the first 25 years or so of its existence. These more traditional approaches of social sciences have developed models of behaviour which need to be reconciled with the analytical concepts of behavioral economics. However, the conceptual differences – or similarities – between socio-legal research and behavioural analysis are rarely discussed. After explaining the fundamental importance of models of human behaviour for consumer law, this chapter argues that these two approaches start from fundamentally opposite assumptions: while behavioural analysis is based on the functional rationality of the Homo oeconomicus with its focus on individual choice, socio-legal research roots are in the value rationality of the Homo sociologicus which instead draws attention to social embeddedness. Even if the starting points are different, the question remains whether both models are about to converge or whether their divergences prevail. Owing to the fundamental importance of those two behavioural models, the answer shapes the essential pillars of European Consumer Law’s architecture. It determines nothing less than the architectural style, more precisely whether that style contributes to a coherent, harmonious ensemble, or whether it looks bitty and scrappy.
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.