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Ökonomische Thesen zur Repräsentation von Verbraucherinteressen in Deutschland


  • Andreas Zahn


The representation of consumer interests in Germany shows an insufficient consumer participation. Coincidentally, the political decision making process profits too little from the informative function of consumer interest groups. This article will demonstrate on the basis of current case studies the consequences both for the legitimisation of interest representation and possible false conclusions on the level of consumer protection. Consumer representation requires the knowledge of consumer interests. Taking an increased heterogeneity of the preferences into consideration, it is particularly important to carry out a target-orientated preference identification to deduce a frame for political decisions beyond a normative fundamental consensus. In doing so, the possibilities of new communication instruments should be considered. One should also create incentives to collect and to provide information on the level of institutions close to consumers. This mix of actions would allow for a more legitimate representation of consumer interests and also a differentiated composition of consumer protection instruments. Die Repräsentation von Verbraucherinteressen in Deutschland weist eine unzureichende Beteiligung der Verbraucher auf. Gleichzeitig wird die Informationsfunktion von Repräsentanten im politischen Entscheidungsprozess zu wenig genutzt. Die daraus resultierenden Legitimationsprobleme der Interessenvertretung sowie mögliche Fehlschlüsse bei der Determinierung des verbraucherpolitischen Schutzniveaus werden anhand aktueller Fallbeispiele aufgezeigt. Repräsentation erfordert die Kenntnis der Interessen der Verbraucher. Angesichts der Heterogenität der Interessen ist zur Konkretisierung eines Entscheidungsrahmens, der über einen normativen Grundkonsens der Verbraucherinteressen hinausgeht, in der Praxis eine direkte lösungsorientierte Präferenzermittlung erforderlich. Dazu sollten insbesondere auch die Möglichkeiten neuer Kommunikations- und Partizipationsprozesse genutzt werden. Es sollten aber ebenso Anreize zur Informationserhebung und -bereitstellung für verbrauchernahe Institutionen geschaffen werden. Dieser Maßnahmenmix würde eine legitimiertere Repräsentation der Interessen und eine differenzierte bedarfsgerechte Instrumentgestaltung des Verbraucherschutzes erlauben.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Zahn, 2009. "Ökonomische Thesen zur Repräsentation von Verbraucherinteressen in Deutschland," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 78(3), pages 63-80.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:78-3-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fahlbusch, Markus & Bahr, Anneke & Brümmer, Bernhard & Spiller, Achim, 2009. "Der Markt für Milch und Milcherzeugnisse," German Journal of Agricultural Economics, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Department for Agricultural Economics, vol. 58(1).
    2. Fuest, Clemens, 2006. "Die Stellung der Ordnungspolitik in der Ökonomik," Wirtschaftsdienst – Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik (1949 - 2007), ZBW – German National Library of Economics / Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, vol. 86(1), pages 11-14.
    3. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
    4. Roland Vaubel, 2006. "Principal-agent problems in international organizations," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 125-138, June.
    5. van Winden, Frans, 1999. "On the Economic Theory of Interest Groups: Towards a Group Frame of Reference in Political Economics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 100(1-2), pages 1-29, July.
    6. Fahlbusch, Markus & Bahr, Anneke & Brümmer, Bernhard & Spiller, Achim, 2009. "Der Markt für Milch und Milcherzeugnisse," Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, Journal of International Agricultural Trade and Development, vol. 59.
    7. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328-328.
    8. Mikael Klintman, 2009. "Participation in Green Consumer Policies: Deliberative Democracy under Wrong Conditions?," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 43-57, March.
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    More about this item


    Consumer protection; information acquisition; asymmetric information; interest groups; representation;

    JEL classification:

    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design


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