Considering the Consumer

Faculty Research at HLS

Many faculty members at HLS focus their research on aspects of consumer law and protection. Professor Howell Jackson ’82, for example, is an expert on financial regulation, federal budget policy and entitlement reform. He writes, teaches, and consults with government agencies on these topics and incorporates consumer protection into much of his work, including in his analyses of consumer financial regulation. In recent years, he has also worked with students on reform proposals to relieve the burden of student loans for Social Security recipients of limited means.

Professor Cass Sunstein ’78, former head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, is author of numerous publications, including his 2008 classic, “Nudge,” which put the behavior and well-being of consumers at the center of the equation.

Professor Oren Bar-Gill LL.M. ’01 S.J.D. ’05 draws on law, economics and psychology in his influential work on consumer contracts, from his book, “Seduction by Contract: Law, Economics, and Psychology in Consumer Markets,” to articles on topics such as the psychology of subprime mortgages. Earlier in his career, he co-wrote an article titled “Making Credit Safer,” arguing that credit products like mortgage loans and credit cards should be regulated as stringently as physical products like cars and toasters are.

Bar-Gill’s co-author was U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (then an HLS professor and now professor emerita), who conceived of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a way to better regulate mortgages, student loans and other financial products.