How can consumer interests be defined and determined? How do public interest groups fulfill their fundamental function of interest aggregation? This study analyses how consumer interests are defined, aggregated and legitimized within the field of consumer policy. In Germany, these interests, which are diffuse and hard to organize, are represented as well-understood consumer interests by advocacy organizations, which have no particular membership and are financially dependent on the state.
This case study analyses interest aggregation in consumer organizations based on the example of the "Verbraucherzentrale" (consumer association) of North Rhine-Westphalia. Therefore, it contributes to a theory of interest aggregation within the study of public interest groups. Referring to the field of political consumer research, this study focuses on a core problem of consumer policy: Organizing, determining and legitimizing consumer interests.
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