It's power that counts: reflections on recent consumer market‐place research


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The consumer protection literature relies for much of its theoretical support upon concepts such as ‘market power’ and ‘inequalities of bargaining power’. This article seeks to fill a perceived gap in the literature by providing examples of market place application of ‘power, will and skill’—concepts drawn from the literature of management strategy. These examples have arisen as side benefits from research into the workings of Fair Trading Act 1973 based codes of practice, the Consumer Credit Act 1974, and the Scottish used car market. The authors seek to demonstrate, for the benefit of those involved in the regulation of the consumer market place, how the effectiveness of regulation in a variety of forms and situations is determined, significantly, by economic muscle and by an associated will on the part of powerful enforcers to exercise meaningful sanctions on trader organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Consumer Studies & Home Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1990


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