Digital Germany

Job Loss?

Digital Prosperity for All

ZEW publication

DIGITAL Economy Monitoring Report

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ZEW publication

Digitalisation and the Future of Work

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ZEW publication

An Update of the Social Market Economy Is Possible

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The Digitalisation of the Economy – Research at ZEW

Are we going to lose our jobs because of digitalisation and artificial intelligence? Is Germany lagging behind in digitalisation? High-speed internet, algorithms, big data and digital services are changing economic and social processes at great speeds. New business models, working methods and forms of communication are emerging. This offers new opportunities to generate turnover, secure market shares and conquer new markets. But digitalisation also requires companies and employees to adjust to these new circumstances. In order to exploit the potential of digitisation for the economy and society to the full, it is important to know the possible applications of digital technologies and to understand how they work to make them measurable and create suitable framework conditions. With its research on digitalisation, ZEW helps actors from business and politics to make decisions based on scientific evidence.

Irene Bertschek
ZEW expert

Prof. Dr. Irene Bertschek

Please contact me for inquiries.
Phone: +49 (0)621 1235-178
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The digital transformation should not merely be considered in terms of its technological implications, but rather as a complex phenomenon in which human beings and the central role they have in this process must be taken into account.

ZEW Expert Irene Bertschek on Digitalisation Research at ZEW

The Digitalisation of the Economy – Research at ZEW

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It is difficult to imagine the world without digitalisation: ZEW expert Irene Bertschek talks about our research on digitalisation at ZEW

Digital Technologies and Their Use in the Economy

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are important drivers of digitalisation in Germany. The ICT sector not only provides digital solutions for companies, the public sector and private households, but it is often a forerunner in the use of new hardware products and IT services. This makes the ICT sector an object of continuous research.

Resilience to the Crisis


Digital Platforms


Using the Short-Term Push Towards Digitalisation for Long-Term Investments

The coronavirus has hit the world economy hard, with the lockdown having paralysed public life for weeks in many countries. But even with the lockdown easing up, hygiene and distance regulations still make it difficult to work together, shop, and use business services. Irene Bertschek explains what role the digitalisation of companies plays in their resilience to the crisis, and how different industries can react to the markedly changed conditions.

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ZEW Business Survey in the Information Economy

More Specialists Needed for Artificial Intelligence

ZEW study provides an overview of the use of AI in companies in Germany.

Almost six per cent of all companies in Germany used artificial intelligence (AI) in 2019. These companies spent around 4.8 billion euros in the field of AI and employed 139,000 people who either fully or partially carried out AI activities. However, there is a lack of qualified personnel: almost one in two vacant AI positions could only be filled inadequately or not at all last year.

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Apps in Less Competitive Markets Collect More User Data

Data play a crucial role in digital markets, including the market for mobile applications. At present, however, app markets are dominated by a few, highly successful and mostly free apps. Apps with high market shares operating in a weak competitive environment are more likely to collect large amounts of privacy-sensitive user data and share them with third parties.

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Digital World of Work

The digital transformation is changing jobs and tasks at an unprecedented speed. Digitalisation permeates almost all areas of the world of work today. The extent to which human work will be replaced by technology is rated differently. It is clear that a great demand for advanced training and retraining emerges which workers and companies will have to face. The pressure to adapt is thereby particularly high for low-skilled workers.


Job Loss?

Labour Market

Questions & Answers

How Will We Work in the Digitised World of the Future?

ZEW expert Melanie Arntz on the Future of Work

The digitisation of work has become one of the watchwords of the 21st century. As companies and markets keep up with rapid advances in the digital economy to stay competitive, sceptics fear that the automatization of labour will lead to massive job cuts. The ZEW labour market economist Melanie Arntz discusses what this means for workers and businesses in German and in Europe in general.

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Further information on the research results of our research area Digitalisation and International Labour Division (Leibniz-Program for Female Professors)


Digitalisation Creates Jobs but Needs Targeted Support

The diffusion of digital technologies is helping to create employment

Digital transformation is creating more jobs than it is destroying, but still poses many challenges for establishments and workers alike. To ensure that the German economy remains competitive in this arena, the government needs to take action. This is the main finding of a project focusing on the German labour market entitled “Digitalisation and the Future of Work”, which was carried out by ZEW and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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Technological Transformation Causes Divide in German Labour Market

Although digitalisation and automation will lead to moderate employment growth in Germany until 2021, they are also likely to increase income inequality among employees. Contrary to widespread public perception, technological change creates more jobs than it destroys. What is of central importance, however, is not so much the number of jobs affected as the structural change in the labour market, which is taking place as digitalisation and automation progresses.

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Digitalisation and the Future of Work: Jobs at Risk?

Our latest Lunch Debate focused on the way digitalisation affects labour markets as well.

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Data and Platform Economy

The big US internet giants Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft have become a symbol of the platform economy, which is characterised by network effects and monopolistic structures. In many areas, digital platforms take over the role of intermediaries. Hotel booking platforms arrange hotel rooms, while digital labour markets match the demand for labour with corresponding offers. A key factor for the platform economy is data. Data is the basis for developing new services and smartphone apps, while often being traded as a currency in the online world. But data is not only important for platform operators and app developers. Also for many companies in traditional industries the analysis of large, unstructured databases from different sources has become an important strategic tool for the efficient design of processes and the development of innovations.


Digital Currencies

Questions & Answers

We Need to Better Understand the Impact of Algorithmic Decision-Making

Dr. Dominik Rehse, head of the Junior Research Group “Digital Market Design”

Search engines, social networks, comparison and rating portals, and other digital platforms are increasingly transforming our lives. They make intensive use of algorithmic decision-making, especially of machine learning. Those markets in which digital platforms occur as intermediaries or market participants are also increasingly influenced by algorithms and machine learning applications. Dr. Dominik Rehse, head of the Junior Research Group “Digital Market Design” explains the implications of this transformation.

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Financial Market Experts: Digital Currencies Without Strict Supervision Dangerous

Introducing and issuing digital currencies such as Libra, as planned by Facebook, or Bitcoin without strict legal requirements is viewed critically by most financial market experts: around 88 per cent believe that the use of digital currencies without close regulatory supervision poses a threat to financial stability. This is the result of a special question featured in the most recent ZEW Financial Market Survey conducted with 193 financial market experts.

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ZEW President

Achim Wambach

The creation of a framework for digitisation that promotes competition and is oriented towards people’s welfare must be given the highest priority.