Consumer Policy and Governance
Liberalisation, globalisation and the retreat of the state in the provision of social security challenge traditional consumer policy. It is increasingly recognised by policy-makers that while withdrawing, the state maintains the duty to support and protect consumers in their everyday purchasing decisions. The more choices consumers have, the more support they need to make well-informed and responsible choices.
ConPolicy supports leaders in evaluating consumer policies and instruments. We propose measures to improve the mixture of instruments in such a way as to increase consumer welfare while at the same time minimising negative impacts on competition. Our research is defined by an evidence-based approach and benchmarking with other countries.
Key questions are:
- How should consumer policy be institutionalised to protect consumers and at the same time empower them to make well-informed and responsible purchasing decisions?
- What can be learned from other countries about the institutionalisation of consumer policy?
- How effective and efficient are various consumer policy instruments such as consumer information, education, advice, labelling, codes of conducts, standardisation, certification, admission restrictions, regulation of prices and fees, incentives, and bans and proscriptions?
Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (2013), Evaluation of a mini-contracting programme for low income households of the Wuppertaler Stadtwerke: Execution of the whole project.
GIZ, Advice on the set-up of an Indian consumer protection agency (2012): Cooperation with an Indian expert.
GIZ, Development of an E-Commerce label for China (2011-12): Participation in a Chinese-German team of experts.
GTZ, Sino-German Comparative Study on E-Commerce (2010-11): Participation in a Chinese-German team of experts with the responsibility for the topic consumer protection.
GTZ, Development of a Toolkit for Implementing and Sustaining State Consumer Helplines and State Consumer Advice Centres (2010).
Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv), Consumer oriented supervision of financial services (2010): Analysis of good and bad practices of financial services supervision from the consumer perspective in Great Britain and Ireland.
Thorun, Christian and Chaturvedi, K.N.: Recommendations for a National Consumer Protection Agency in India, ConPolicy Study conducted for German International Cooperation GIZ (2012).
Thorun, Christian: Employee and consumer interests: Allies or Opponents?, ConPolicy Study financed by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung (2012).
Shared authorship: E-Commerce in China and Germany – A Comparative Sino-German Analysis, C.H.Beck München/Hart Oxford/Nomos Baden-Baden, 2011.
Thorun, Christian: Consumer oriented financial services supervision - Lessons from British and Irish experiences, conducted for the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, ConPolicy Study, 05/25/2010 (.pdf German version).
Thorun, Christian: Financial regulatory reform - Lessons from the international debate, ConPolicy Policy Brief, 03/10/2010 (.pdf German version).
Thorun, Christian: Consumer information - Limits and requirements, ConPolicy Policy Brief, 02/17/2010 (.pdf German version).
BvD-Kongress, "Privacy portal - Project presentation"
Presentation, 25 April 2013, Berlin
Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, "Debate about the the 'Study on the state of consumers in Germany'"
Moderation, 18 April 2013, Berlin
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, "1st Workshop: On the state of consumer interest representation in Germany - Status quo analysis and reform perspectives"
Moderation, 17 April 2013, Berlin
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, "More empirical evidence in consumer policy? Thoughts on the introduction of impact assessments'"
Résumé, 10 December 2012, Berlin
SPD Bundestagsfraktion, "Consumers in Markets: Status Quo Analysis"
Presentation, 05 November 2012, Berlin
BvD-Kongress, "Privacy portal - Project presentation"
Presentation, 25 April 2012, Berlin
DGB-Workshop, Employee and consumer interests: Allies or opponents?
Presentation of study, 19 March 2012, Berlin
Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, Borderless Consumer Protection!? - Effective enforcement, powerful consumers
Moderation, 7 November 2011, Berlin
Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Consumer Protection of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Consumer Policy Congress - From information to regulation - How can consumer rights effectively by enforced
Presentation, 13 October 2011, Cologne
Workshop, Challenges to consumer protection in E-Commerce and The importance of informed consumers
Presentations, 30 June 2011, Qingdao (China)
International Symposium, Consumer protection in cross-border E-commerce
Presentation, 28 June 2011, Beijing
TACD Conference on Financial Services, Financial service supervision
Moderation, 22 June 2011, Brussels
Federation of German Consumer Organizations, Examples of a consumer oriented financial services supervision
Presentation, 25 October 2010, Berlin
Beijing Technology and Business University, Consumer Protection in E-Commerce
Presentation, 21 September 2010, Beijing
EU Commission: ECCG Competition Working Group, How consumer organisations should deal with consumers’ competition complaints
Presentation, 24 April 2007, Brussels
German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology: Hearing on the 8th reform of German Cartel law
Expert hearing, 27 November 2006, Berlin
German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology: Hearing on competition and liberal professions
Expert hearing, 19 September 2006, Berlin
Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations