Promoting consumers’ rights, prosperity, and wellbeing are core values of the European Union. A wide array of laws, institutions, and regulations – which can be generally termed as consumer policies – aim at protecting consumers by ensuring adequate and truthful information in the marketplace as well as preventing firms from engaging in unfair and competition-impairing practices.
While some of these policies directly affect consumers, for instance consumer protection and dissuasive taxation, others only indirectly benefit consumers by governing market functions through regulation and competition policies. The interactions between these different policies are not yet fully understood.
Over the past decades, triggered by digitization and the big data revolution, the consumer policy debate has substantially evolved. Digitization is permeating virtually all topics relevant to consumers – commerce, competition, communication, social networks, media, services – in sectors like finance, health, housing, and many more. The implementation of new tools – such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is at the forefront of the global privacy debate – reflects the policy response to some of these challenging issues.
The aim of the Berlin Centre for Consumer Policies (BCCP) is to create an enduring international platform in the broad area of competition and consumer policies with a specific focus on the effects of digitization and the functioning of digital markets, where excellent interdisciplinary research can actively and effectively inform policy makers on issues that are highly relevant to the current policy debate.
The Centre can build on the existing, strong, visible, and interdisciplinary cooperation among the two Leibniz institutes DIW Berlin and WZB, several faculties of the two universities Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Technische Universität Berlin, the ESMT Berlin, the Hertie School of Governance, and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG).
The strong focus of the partner institutions in industrial organization, behavioral economics competition law, and data science as well as a strong policy focus makes Berlin the perfect location for a ScienceCampus focused on consumer policies. The main goal of BCCP is to fully exploit, reinforce, and institutionalize this exceptional environment to answer specific questions on the optimal design of consumer policies.
WZB - Berlin Social Science Center
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Technische Universität Berlin
Hertie School of Governance
Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG)
The ScienceCampus is supported by the Leibniz Association.