Abstract - The Information Society 24(5)

Consumer Information Requirements and Telecommunications Regulation

Patrick Xavier

Consumers can be disadvantaged and suffer detriment when information is withheld, when there is deception in the information provided, or when information is too difficult for consumers to obtain or evaluate. While information provision is often favoured as a policy/regulatory tool to address ‘market failure’, it can have its own failings and drawbacks. For instance, the volume of information presented can contain its effectiveness. While the demand side analysis indicates that actual consumer behaviour exhibits systematic departures from the “rational” behaviour assumed by conventional (neoclassical) economics, behavioural economics goes further in questioning whether additional information is always useful. It challenges some of the presumptions of conventional economics that consumers make their choices coherently and rationally. This paper incorporates such considerations in proposing measures (including regulatory initiatives) that could improve the information made available to telecommunications consumers.


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