Digital marketplaces and platforms are characterised by reduced costs for storing, searching for, and retrieving information. They also have low communication costs enabling remotely located partners to coordinate and jointly resolve complex tasks – be it a commercial transaction or the collaboration on a complex joint project. In this project, we aim to study the mechanism of specific digital marketplaces and platforms from different perspectives:

  • We study the role of incentive schemes for online public good production and crowdworking as new form of organising labour. In addition, we analyse how the diffusion of platforms which facilitate the collection of information and the acquisition of goods and services affects other related markets.
  • We examine market power issues related to major two-sided markets characterised by substantial network effects, such as Google. Furthermore, we analyse the role of competition on the deployment of digital infrastructures and services as well as their economic impacts, and we investigate switching behaviour in electricity markets. A special focus is placed on characteristics of customer behaviour.
  • A further issue to be examined is the potential of digital platforms to support long-term investment decisions. We thereby focus on platforms which exploit cognitive advantages and compensate for the cognitive limitations of the human decision making processes. We also analyse their potential to serve as a feasible solution for recurring, widespread investment mistakes.

The research will contribute to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms in online markets and platforms how these affect competition dynamics and labour supply. It is likely that the expected findings shall have far-reaching implications, not only for the organisation of work, retail and finance, but also for policy makers who shall determine the necessity of regulatory or competition policy interventions.

Selected Publications

Discussion and Working Papers

Hunold, Matthias, Reinhold Kesler, Ulrich Laitenberger and Frank Schlütter (2017), Evaluation of Best Price Clauses in Online Hotel Booking, DICE Discussion Paper No 278, Düsseldorf. Download

Hunold, Matthias, Ulrich Laitenberger, Frank Schlütter and Reinhold Kesler (2016), Evaluation of Best Price Clauses in Hotel Booking, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 16-066, Mannheim. Download

Project duration

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2019



Land Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, DE