Edited by Geraint Howells, Iain Ramsay and Thomas Wilhelmsson
Chapter 4: The consumer and competition law
This chapter examines the dual role that the consumer plays in competition law. The first role is as a rhetorical device within the Consumer Welfare standard that lies at the heart of current competition law orthodoxy. The Consumer Welfare standard is used by most developed competition law regimes to define their normative boundaries, but its definition and use is contested. The different uses of the standard go some way to explain the distinction between US and EU approaches to competition law problems. The second role of the consumer in competition law is as an institutional actor, instigating complaints and bringing competition law claims before the courts. Private claims are now seen as a valuable addition to the deterrent effects of public law sanctions. However, if such claims are to become effective, a number of problems, such as standing and the availability of collective actions, need to be addressed.
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