Research Methods in Consumer Law
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Research Methods in Consumer Law

A Handbook

Edited by Hans-W. Micklitz, Anne-Lise Sibony and Fabrizio Esposito

Consumer law is worthy of greater academic attention at a time when many new questions arise and old ones need new answers. This unique handbook takes the reader on a journey through existing literature, research questions and methods. It builds on the state of the art to offer a springboard for jumping to the heart of contemporary issues and equips researchers with a starter’s kit to weave together rich traditions, ranging from socio-economics to behavioural analysis.
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Chapter 14: Behavioural analysis and comparative law: improving the empirical foundation for comparative legal research

Giesela Rühl


During the past three to four decades the ‘correct’ comparative method has become the object of an intensive debate. This debate now also covers empirical methods that have started to ‘infiltrate’ comparative law ever since the turn of the twenty-first century. Behavioural analysis, however, has not yet come into the picture. The following chapter, therefore, explores how behavioural research can be put to comparative use and sheds light on recent attempts to do so. It concludes that combining comparative and behavioural insights may further our understanding of consumers’ needs and improve our ability to design legal responses. In particular, it may help to understand why legal systems are differently designed in different countries and why the same rules may trigger different reactions in different countries. The chapter, therefore, suggests that behavioural scientists and comparative lawyers should work closely together to better understand cross-cultural consumer behaviour and the complex relationship between consumer behaviour and consumer law.

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