Consumer bias in sustainable consumption: debiasing consumers towards a sustainable future
PhD student: Mr Y.C. van de Berg
Promotors: Mrs Dr M. Bartl, C. Eckes
Duration: 2/9/2019 - 1/9/2023
This thesis will focus on the possibilities that are available for regulators and legal scholars to eliminate bias in consumer decisions regarding sustainable consumption. Whereas the focus in European Consumer Law over the last decades has been on the traditional information paradigm, a behavioural turn is starting to gain momentum. Debiasing methods can provide an answer to current problems using more traditional forms of regulation. The project will start with the drafting of a conceptual framework of debiasing through law. In this conceptual analysis, the concept of debiasing and ways to incorporate it in regulation will be researched. After setting up this conceptual framework of debiasing, I conduct two case studies pertaining to behavioural insights into and the law applicable to the sustainable consumption of both products and energy. First, these case studies will study behavioural economics and psychology to identify biases in sustainable consumption decision-making in each respective field. Second, I will analyse to what extent behavioural insights and more specifically debiasing methods are currently being used in sustainable consumption regulation of energy and products. Third, I will assess to what extent the method of debiasing through law may help foster sustainable consumption. Finally, I will use these findings to supply a comprehensive evidence-based regulatory framework of debiasing methods in European consumer law on sustainable products and energy consumption.