Net neutrality arouses strong passions and is an intensely political debate. But how does net neutrality impact consumer behaviour, and does zero-rating actually alter consumption patterns? In this article I attempt to ground the debate in evidence and delve into the consequences of zero-rating in particular. A fully-informed debate on net neutrality (that goes beyond a fun if misleading contribution by Burger King) requires understanding of the effects of net neutrality on markets, and thus insight into how net neutrality influences consumer behaviour.
The insights of psychology and behavioural economics into real-world consumer decisionmaking have demonstrated the importance of the “choice architecture” in which decisions are made. Small (and seemingly insignificant) influences can affect consumer behaviour in ways that traditional economic theory does not account for.
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