Disclosure, Agents, and Consumer Protection

Author: Samuel Issacharoff
Publication: New York University Law and Economics Working Papers, 2010

Abstract: Consumers make mistakes, and sophisticated market actors exploit those mistakes. Efforts to promote consumer protection through soft paternalistic interventions, most notably improved disclosure regimes, run into the problem that consumers are overwhelmed by information and may not to invest the time and effort necessary to take advantage of more information. This paper reviews recent attempts to protect consumers without recourse to command-and-control regulation. Instead of further overwhelming consumers with information, this paper proposes that efforts to aid beleaguered consumers should take the form of facilitating a market for intermediaries where independent agents or competitive firms have incentives to assist consumer protection.

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