Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The consumer empowerment index. A measure of skills, awareness and engagement of European consumers

Nardo, Michela and Loi, Massimo and Rosati, Rossana and Manca, Anna Rita (2011): The consumer empowerment index. A measure of skills, awareness and engagement of European consumers. Published in: JRC Scientific and Technical Reports No. EUR 24791 EN - 2011 (April 2011): pp. 1-232.

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The Consumer Empowerment Index is a pilot exercise, aimed at obtaining a first snapshot of the state of consumer empowerment as measured by the Eurobarometer survey (Special Eurobarometer n. 342). It is neither a final answer on empowerment nor a comprehensive study on all the different facets of consumer empowerment, but instead it is meant to foster the debate on the determinants of empowerment and their importance for protecting consumers.

This report describes the steps followed in the construction of the Index of consumer Empowerment. In particular the definition of the theoretical framework, the quantification of categorical survey questions, the univariate and multivariate analysis of the dataset, and the set of weight used for calculating the scores and ranks of the Index. The report also discusses the robustness of the results and the relationship between the Index and the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents in order to identify the features of the most vulnerable consumers.

The Consumer Empowerment Index identifies Norway as the leading country followed by Finland, the Netherlands and Germany and Denmark. The middle of the ranking is dominated by western countries such as Belgium, France, and UK, with an average score 13% lower than the top five. At the bottom of the Index are some Eastern and Baltic countries like Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania with a score 31% lower on average (this gap reaches 40% and 38% in Awareness of consumer legislation and Consumer skills). A group of southern countries, Italy, Portugal, and Spain score poorly in the Index, especially in the pillar Consumer skills where the gap with the top performers reaches 30%.

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