Evidence-based Consumer Policy
Economic policy without data on GDP would be unthinkable. Equally, consumer policy must rely on sound evidence to set its priorities, make use of adequate instruments and evaluate policies.
ConPolicy supports leaders in establishing a solid evidence base for consumer policy and in utilising its insights for policy development. Our research draws on insights of behavioural economics. Behavioural economics demonstrates that consumers generally do not make conscious and rational decisions, but instead revert to patterns of behaviour. The findings of behavioural economics fundamentally contradicts traditional economic theories that are based on assumptions about rational behaviour and which still have a strong bearing on current consumer policy. The implications for consumer policy are far reaching.
Key questions are:
- Do consumers choose goods that best correspond to their preferences? If not, why? What role does insufficient competition, inadequate or too much information, lack of knowledge, barriers to switching, insufficient default-options or behavioural factors play in consumer decisions?
- What effect does the shift from the provision of welfare services from the state to markets have on different consumer groups such as singles, families, families with children, pensioners, high/ low income households or migrants?
- How can insights from behavioural economics be utilised to support consumers in their everyday decisions?
GIZ, Consumer Education and Information (2011): Elaboration of policy recommendations in these areas for the Chinese Government.
Thorun, Christian und Niemeyer, Frank: Towards a fairer deal for consumers and the financial industry - Lessons from the Retail Distribution Review and the ban of commissions in the UK, conducted for Association of German Fee-Only Advisers and quirin bank AG, 09/17/2012 (.pdf).
Thorun, Christian: Sustainable Consumption: Consumer information alone is insufficient - new approaches for sustainable consumption, ConPolicy Kurzanalyse, 07.06.2011 (German version .pdf).
Thorun, Christian: What consumer policy can learn from behavioural economics, FES WISO direkt, December 2010 (.pdf German version).
Thorun, Christian: Consumer policy research - What behavioural economics can learn from consumer policy, ConPolicy Policy Brief, 02/08/2010 (.pdf German version).
Bracker, Joss Florian und Thorun, Christian: Über die Bedeutung der Nachfrageseite für die Effizienz von Märkten - eine Diskussion ökonomischer Theorien, Forum Ware 35, 2007.
Thorun, Christian: Von der Tendenz her berechtigt, in der Höhe nicht immer nachvollziehbar – ein Kommentar zu den Preiserhöhungen bei Lebensmitteln, ifo-Schnelldienst 19, 2007.
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
Fee-Only Adviser Congress 2012, "Towards a fairer deal for consumers and industry - Lessons from the Retail Distribution Review and the ban of commissions in the UK"
Presentation, 16 October 2012, Mainz
Otto Group, Consumer sovereignty and consumer trust - Consequences for ethical consumption
Presentation, 9 June 2011, Berlin
German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology: Quality assurance in the context of the service directive: How do consumers recognise service quality?
Presentation, 12 December 2007, Berlin
EU Commission: ECCG Competition Working Group, Competition problems consumers are complaining about
Presentation, 25 January 2007, Brussels
German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology: Hearing on the 8th reform of German Cartel law
Expert Hearing, 27 November 2006, Berlin