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Title: Collective action in comparative and empirical perspective : towards a socio-legal theory
Author: Fortes, Pedro Rubim Borges
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 9284
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This DPhil thesis enhances existing understandings of collective action through a comparative and empirical study. Empirical analysis of economic, political, juridical, and social dimensions of the Brazilian experience reveals that some central understandings in existing literature are not borne out in this empirical context. In particular, the assertion that low monetary incentives for individuals hinder growth in use of collective action is strongly challenged. The Brazilian experience is contextualised through comparative analysis of three legal traditions of collective action: class actions; collective redress; and civil public actions. The Brazilian system presents a setting with potential for regulatory enforcement of consumer protection law, but rare episodes of consumer compensation or the imposition of punitive damages on corporations. With low monetary incentives, the growth of collective actions is explained by non-monetary incentives and investment in social capital through development of institutional trust and legal institutions. Collective actors develop their organisational infrastructure and perform their roles as representatives through institutional dynamics of concentration, competition, cooperation, and deference. The coexistence of multiple institutional actors in the regulatory space reduces agenda control, increases opportunities for consumer participation, and increases oversight of regulatory capture. The categories of diffuse, collective, and homogeneous individual rights explain the role of law in establishing procedural pathways and special features. This study is broadened through analysis of the legal environment and the potential regulatory impact of collective actions on the social relationships between businesses and consumers. I also evaluate limitations and possibilities regarding access to justice, judicial economy, compensation, and deterrence. This thesis indicates the possibility of developing a socio-legal theory of collective action, which would enhance our understanding of the complex dynamics at play by going beyond analysis of the consumer experience as merely an economic transaction or a legal object, analysing them instead as a complex social relationship.
Supervisor: Galligan, Denis Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available