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Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics hosted a one-day symposium on the economics of consumer protection, in conjunction with Economic Inquiry’s special Symposium Issue on Consumer Protection Economics. The goal of the conference was to advance the application of economics to consumer protection policy analysis and law enforcement, and in the process further the FTC’s dual mission to protect consumers and promote competition. The event also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the 1978 founding of the Division of Consumer Protection within the Bureau of Economics.

The symposium featured:

  • Keynote address by Professor Daniel S. Hamermesh (Distinguished Scholar, Barnard College; Network Director, Institute of the Study of Labor (IZA)) entitled “Time Use, Time Loss: Can the Consumer Be Injured?
  • Panel discussion on The State of Consumer Protection Economics
  • Research presentations in the field of consumer protection economics

This event took place on Friday, December 7, 2018, at the Constitution Center building, and onsite registration opens at 8:30am. It is free and open to the public. The proceedings were streamed via webcast.

Pre-registration is highly encouraged so that we may better plan for the event. 

For further inquiries, please email


We welcome people with disabilities. The FTC will accommodate as many attendees as possible; however, admittance will be limited to seating availability. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for accommodations should be submitted to Elizabeth Kraszewski via email at ekraszewski@ftc.govor by phone at (202) 326-3087. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. In addition, please allow at least five business days advance notice for accommodation requests; last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.

  • Preliminary Agenda




    Opening Remarks

    Bruce Kobayashi, Federal Trade Commission


    Panel: The State of Consumer Protection Economics


    • Michael Baye, Indiana University
    • Timothy Brennan, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
    • Joseph Farrell, University of California, Berkeley
    • Janis Pappalardo, Federal Trade Commission
    • Paul Pautler, Federal Trade Commission (former)
    • Lawrence White, New York University

    Moderator: Andrew Stivers, Federal Trade Commission




    Paper Session 1

    Voluntary Disclosure and Earnings Expectations in Multi-Level Marketing
    Stacie Bosley
    , Hamline University
    (Discussant: Linda Salisbury, Boston College)

    Which Communities Complain to Policymakers? Evidence from Consumer Sentinel
    Devesh Raval, Federal Trade Commission
    (Discussant: Erez Yoeli, MIT Sloan School of Management)

    Moderator: Yan Lau, Federal Trade Commission




    Panel: Analysis of Consumer Welfare and Consumer Protection Policy

    Behavioral Welfare Evaluation of Consumer Protection Policies
    Hunt Allcott, New York University & Microsoft Research

    Consumer Response to Information: Evidence from a Field Experiment of Calorie Labels on Restaurant Menus
    John Cawley, Cornell University

    Discussion Panelists:
    Ron Borzekowski, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection
    Randall Lutter, Food and Drug Administration

    Moderator: Matthew Jones, Federal Trade Commission





    Time Use, Time Loss: Can the Consumer be Injured?
    Daniel Hamermesh, Barnard College & Institute of the Study of Labor (IZA)

    Introduction by:
    Mary Sullivan, Federal Trade Commission


    Paper Session 2

    Free Product Trials
    Dmitry Lubensky
    , Amazon
    Eric Schmidbauer, University of Central Florida
    (Discussant: Lawrence White, New York University)

    Search Costs, Hassle Costs, and Drip Pricing: Equilibria with Rational Consumers and Firms
    Michael Baye, Indiana University
    (Discussant: Joseph Farrell, University of California, Berkeley)

    A Review of Current Studies and Some Remaining Research Questions in Four Small-Dollar Credit Markets
    Thomas Miller, Jr., Mississippi State University
    (Discussant: Brian Rowe, Federal Trade Commission)

    Moderator: Timothy Daniel, Federal Trade Commission


    Closing Remarks

    Wesley Wilson, University of Oregon & Editor - Economic Inquiry

FTC Privacy Policy

Under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register. The Commission will consider all timely and responsive public comments, whether filed in paper or electronic form, and as a matter of discretion, we make every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments before posting them on the FTC website.

The FTC Act and other laws we administer permit the collection of your pre-registration contact information and the comments you file to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate.  Under the Freedom of Information Act or other laws, we may be required to disclose to outside organizations the information you provide when you pre-register.  For additional information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, see the Commission’s Privacy Act system for public records and comprehensive privacy policy.

This event will be open to the public and may be photographed, videotaped, webcast, or otherwise recorded.  By participating in this event, you are agreeing that your image — and anything you say or submit — may be posted indefinitely at or on one of the Commission's publicly available social media sites.