When and how consumer authorities should intervene to improve market outcomes is a challenge for policy makers. The methods used to analyse and address consumer issues are evolving, as are the complex problems that consumer agencies are being asked to address.
The OECD, through its Committee on Consumer Policy, provides a platform for governments, together with stakeholders, to work together to improve policy responses. This work includes the development of frameworks for analysing consumer problems and determining what policy measures should be taken. It helps analyse how policy tools can be best employed, including through the application of behavioural insights.
In 2010, the OECD published its Consumer Policy Toolkit, which provides policy makers with a framework to help assess the conditions under which policy interventions may be most effective, and the types of measures they may want to consider. The Toolkit has been used widely by both OECD members and non-Members to enhance the effectiveness of government action. In 2014 it resulted in the adoption of a Council Recommendation on Consumer Policy Decision Making.
Through its Committee on Consumer Policy, the OECD continues to exchange information on experiences using the Toolkit. It will also examine how the tools identified can be best employed.
The Committee on Consumer Policy has been a pioneer in exploring the links between behavioural economics and consumer policy. The Consumer Policy Toolkit explores how information and behavioural economics can be used to strengthen policy and enforcement actions. In 2017, the OECD published a report which examines how behavioural insights have been used by governments and other public policy organisations within their consumer policy making process and policy initiatives. The OECD will continue to analyse ways in which behavioural insights can be used to improve consumer policy outcomes.
2005 Roundtable on Demand-Side Economics for Consumer Policy (also available in French)
Fostering the development of effective, low cost ways for consumers to resolve their disputes and obtain monetary compensation is a key consumer policy objective. In 2007, OECD Member countries adopted a Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress to provide governments with a framework to help consumers resolve disputes and settle claims with business.
Consumers are challenged by growing amounts of information and wider choices of products. To make good choices in increasingly complex markets, they must be aware of their rights and obligations in the marketplace. The OECD Committee on Consumer Policy is examining consumer policies and developing guidances and recommendations towards improved consumer awareness.