Fabrizio Esposito


In 2011, I graduated top of my class at Bocconi University (joint LLB and LLM), with a thesis on the foundations of the economic approach to law. Then, I worked in a major law firm and as a teaching assistant in law and economics at Bocconi, thereby learning to combine high theory and day-to-day legal practice.
In 2018, I became Doctor of Laws of the European University Institute, where I obtained also an LLM. I was active in organizing academic events and took managerial positions in the MetaLawEcon network and the European Journal of Legal Studies, thereby acquiring early an all-around academic skillset.
In 2018, I started a postdoc at the University of Tel Aviv in contract theory under a world-class scholar in the field (Hanoch Dagan, now at Berkley). In 2019, I joined an interdisciplinary project on the sharing economy at UCLouvain.
In 2020, as assistant professor in private law at Nova, my teaching and managerial roles reflect my interdisciplinary and theoretical competencies as well as my interest in new technologies. As a librarian professor, I have reinforced our digital library. In parallel, I had a leading role in the design of the new Master’s in Law Applied to Technology, after having been a coordinator of the Master’s in Law since 2021. At Nova, with Prof. Vera Lucia Raposo, I also am Executive Commissioner of WhatNext.Law, a knowledge center focused on disseminating knowledge on fringe legal issues, mostly technology-related.
In 2022, I published my research monograph with Edward Elgar (see Sec. 3), I signed a contract for an edited volume on price personalization with Cambridge University Press, and began class rep in two actions challenging abuses of dominance by Google and Apple.
In 2023, I joined the Consulting Board of the European Review of Contract Law, the flagship journal of SECOLA, the European contract law association. European institutions have started to consult me on matters of consumer policy (see Sec. 2d).




New ideas
My scholarship is informed by analytical rigor, interdisciplinarity, and an interest in the legal structure of markets, as part of the broader determinants of the social fabric.
My most important intellectual achievement is the design and testing of the Consumer Welfare Hypothesis (CWH), which led to my first research monograph. The CWH offers a ground-breaking and compelling account of market relations with firm roots in economic theory and legal practice: when allocating resources efficiently means maximising consumer welfare instead of maximising total welfare, legal structures such as antitrust and consumer law are designed and practiced with allocative efficiency as their key goal.
The CWH overcomes the opposition between efficiency and distribution and related academic riddles, thereby providing a firmer basis for debates about contract law, antitrust law, market regulation, and consumer law, particularly in the European Union. The outcome is a bilateral view of the connection between the law and the economy.
The CWH has enormous transdisciplinary potential, which I am exploring with colleagues from fields such as: business ethics, comparative law, economic sociology, empirical legal studies, game theory, microeconomics and neuromarketing. I am applying for funding to be able to count on a research team to investigate more systematically the implications of the CWH for other areas of EU law, in particular, EU regulatory private law, EU market surveillance, and EU criminal law.
My main research goal is turning the CWH into a general claim about the normative foundations of economic exchanges, where the overarching principle is the maximization of the benefit for the creditor of the characteristic performance.
The expansion potential of the CWH is illustrated clearly by my contributions to the study of price personalization. I designed a regulatory framework to make them pro-competitive and pro-consumers during my research period at UCLouvain, which has led to two publications, a forthcoming edited volume with Cambridge University Press, and the invitation to write additional contributions on the topic. In this context, the CWH provides me with clear and straightforward normative foundations for the design and justification of regulatory solutions, which is lacking in the overwhelming majority of investigations of this fascinating business practice.

Tools and methodologies
To test the CWH, I developed a new way to inferentially compare the fitness of theoretical frameworks with actual legal discourse. I call this approach reverse engineering legal reasoning. In a nutshell, it consists of operationalizing theoretical constructs in the form of ‘if … then’ sentences about the content of legal reasoning. This method allows testing the fitness of alternative theories with an unprecedented degree of rigor in legal studies – ‘surgical precision’ according to Carlos Ignacio Gómez Ligüerre (Book Review: The Consumer Welfare Hypothesis, Revista General de Derecho Europeo, 61, 2023).
More broadly, my research stresses that a specific type of barrier in interdisciplinary studies is linguistic more than methodological. In particular, scholars often assume that different terms have to refer to different concepts without investigating the possibility that this is not the case (reification fallacy). For this reason, I joined the Epistemic Translation Project (Epistran.org), which is led by translation specialists who want to use their expertise to ease knowledge transfer between disciplines. ‘Law and economics’ is now a case study for Epistran under my responsibility.

Other knowledge
I am mindful to contribute to ongoing debates where I find a pressing need for conceptual clarification. For the most part, said interventions have related to the behavioral turn in law and economics and legal studies more generally or the use of economic concepts in legal reasoning and legal theory (see below). Published examples include: the impact of behavioral insights on consumer policy and the concept of a ‘nudge’; proportionality reasoning and economic concepts; highlighting the legal limits of stepwise liability. The role of efficiency in EU antitrust and consumer law, central to the CWH, is the epitome of my achievements in this area.
Still, it is arguably my critical analysis of the Market Barriers Index that is having the most impact since my co-authors, and I have identified several reasons questioning the reliability of this index, which is attracting attention rapidly.
The periodical review of EU case law with a contractual dimension (see below) led me to identify radical problems in the Dziubac judgment; the related publication made me acquire a position of prominence in the debate on unfair contract terms in Europe. This was a crucial factor in the invitation to join the Consulting Board of the European Review of Contract Law (ERCL).



I dedicate a significant amount of time to methodological training in postgraduate studies via teaching, mentoring. At the LLM level, I have introduced multiple innovations in the methodology course and in the other courses to strengthen our students’ research skills. I am regularly invited by student associations to give methodological talks.
A pivotal asset for our students is the project WhatNext.Law that I co-lead, which allows our students to practice their research skills under my supervision and that of other colleagues. We also offer three master thesis grants a year to particularly promising master’s thesis project.
I am also active at the PhD level teaching, particularly in the Private Law course, but also with supervision (4 PhD supervisees).
As per mentoring, I regularly provide feedback on draft papers to junior scholars and host them for research stays. Whenever beneficial to younger scholars (this depends on the rules of the programs they are enrolled in), I propose co-authorship on topics of common interest. I have ongoing collaborations with three PhD students and three postdoctoral ones.
Since 2023, I invite PhD researchers to join the periodical review of EU case law for the ERCL, as a way to spread a culture of rigorous legal analysis.
I have edited three volumes with a strong methodological component, as a way to help improve the quality of legal research. I am also keen in using various media channels and formats to reach the broadest possible audience, academics included.
I am currently leading an EU-level project to investigate the ‘image of the average consumer at the national level’ which involves many young scholars.
Since I joined Nova, I have been applying for grants and other funding opportunities to build research teams.



I dedicate an important part of my research time to peer-reviewing for journals, publishers, funding entities and peers, including a book submitted by Harvard Professors Bar-Gill and Sunstein for Palgrave.
I also regularly write book reviews and review essays on remarkable books to signal them to the community. Notable ones are the reviews of Nudge and the Law, The Choice Theory of Contracts, and Consumer Theories of Harm.
I organize at least one international conference per year, and their topics demonstrate my commitment to improving the research culture in the legal field.
I took a management role within the MetaLawEcon network, but since that project has been discontinued (de facto), MetaLawEcon’s pitfalls as well as those of other projects in the area (mainly, Law and Political Economy) have helped me to be more pragmatic in identifying networks promoting best practices in academic research that can benefit in particular young researchers. Currently, I am investing in these associations and projects, namely Law as Science, APPEAL and Epistran.
During my PhD I was invited to perform a periodical review of the Court of Justice of the European Union case law with a contractual dimension for the ERCL. This activity was so impactful that it was decided to increase its frequency.
At Nova, I created the knowledge center Data-Driven Law and established fruitful interdisciplinary cooperation with economists, data scientists, management scholars and linguists.



My main goal is preventing that the legal community gets stuck in interdisciplinary ‘fights against windmills’. The results are socially suboptimal: artificial barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration that would strengthen legal institutions and artificially complex conceptual frameworks for the analysis of social problems. In this context, my primary target is the ‘efficiency vs’ thinking.
These benefits result from a cultural change in the understanding of allocative efficiency among stakeholders and policymakers. Critical activities to this end include interviews, stakeholder training, teaching, co-supervision of non-law master’s thesis, and online dissemination activities (‘long read’ on EU Law Live, podcasts, etc.). Also, I started a program for the joint master’s thesis between students of different faculty to spread a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration.
The European Parliament and Commission consulted me on matters of consumers policy. I was invited to a closed-door meeting of the Parliament working group responsible for the proposed regulation on toy safety with high-level stakeholders and then asked to deliver a written opinion. In parallel, I was interviewed as an expert for the ongoing digital fairness fitness check of consumer law, and asked to provide feedback on the draft report.
Finally, I am acting as class representative in two class actions aimed at vindicating consumer rights against two Big Tech companies.



These publications are nodal points in the different strands of my scientific production.

Book: The Consumer Welfare Hypothesis in Law and Economics: Towards A Synthesis for the 21st Century. 2022. Edward Elgar
This book epitomizes the creativity and analytical rigor of my research. It is the steppingstone of my current and future scientific plans. The European Parliament recommends it: https://eplibrary.libguides.com/EPOL/SR/Consumer_protection/e-books

“The GDPR Enshrines the Right to the Impersonal Price”. 2022. Computer Law & Security Review – Q1 in law
This corollary of the Consumer Welfare Hypothesis (CWH) shows that the legal debate on price personalization failed to realize that consumers have a crucial entitlement under EU law. It led to an edited volume on price personalization with CUP I am finalizing these days. I am regularly invited to share my views on this topic with different audiences.

“Economic Consequence for Lawyers: Beyond the Jurisprudential Preface”. 2020. Journal of Argumentation in Context 9(3), pp. 368-398 (with G. Tuzet) – Q1 in linguistics and language
This article explains why the most advanced proposal to make efficiency analysis relevant for legal scholarship fails and presents the alternative approach I used to test the CWH.
The edited volume Economics in Legal Reasoning was inspired by this research.
I am optimistic that I will achieve important breakthroughs in this line of inquiry thanks to the Epistran Project.

“Towards a General Theory of Harm for Consumer Law”. 2021. Journal of Consumer Policy
This article is the first of my publications on the ‘consumer harm, which is a development of the CWH in policy debates. I have used this analytical framework in a series of impactful publications alone and with co-authors. During a conference, the European Commission officer in charge of the ongoing digital fitness check approached me, and a fruitful cooperation is developing.

“When Indicators Fail Electricity Policies: Pitfalls of the EU’s Retail Energy Market Barrier Index”. 2022. Energy Policy (with L. de Almeida, and J. van Zeben) – Q1 in Law
We pointed out issues in the design of the Energy Market Barrier Index and in the incorporated information. It is attracting much attention, including a clumsy reply by the Index PIs on the same journal.

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