The existing analytical frameworks of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) are sufficient to take into account consumer behavior in its competition policy. This is the conclusion that ACM draws from a study that it carried out into the implications of behavioural economics on competition policy. Behavioural economics is a field of study that looks at how individuals and businesses make choices in the real world. Such insights help in answering the question of what instruments ACM should use to achieve effective enforcement.
At an international level, the relationship between behavioural economics and competition policy is a hot topic at the moment. According to ACM, insights from behavioral economics emphasize the importance of sound empirical research into consumer behaviour in real-world cases. Sometimes, businesses cleverly take advantage of the fact that consumers do not always make consistent and ´rational´ choices. Whenever necessary, ACM steps in to inform consumers of their rights, and protects them. By enforcing consumer protection laws, ACM is able to deal with behavior of businesses that is harmful to consumers. In addition, ACM stimulates consumers to take on a more self-confident and active role when dealing with businesses. It does so in various ways such as through its consumer information desk ConsuWijzer.
ACM's conclusions are based in part on a study that was commissioned by ACM and was carried out by research firm Oxera. ACM will continue to keep a close watch on developments in the field of behavioral economics.