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.
  • In addition, we study how and to which extent technological innovations in the area of digital marketplaces and platforms enable new forms of economic interaction. We particularly focus on Blockchain technologies.

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

Articles in Refereed Journals

Briglauer, Wolfgang, Enrico Maria Camarda and Ingo Vogelsang (2019), Path dependencies versus efficiencies in regulation: Evidence from “old” and “new” broadband markets in the EU, Telecommunications Policy Volume 43, Issue 8, Article 101825. Download

Briglauer, Wolfgang and Klaus Gugler (2019), Go for Gigabit? First Evidence on Economic Benefits of High-Speed Broadband Technologies in Europe, Journal of Common Market Studies Volume 57, Issue 5, 1071-1090. Download

Hunold, Matthias, Reinhold Kesler, Ulrich Laitenberger and Frank Schlütter (2018), Evaluation of Best Price Clauses in Hotel Booking, International Journal of Industrial Organization Volume 61, November 2018, p. 542 - 571. Download

Discussion and Working Papers

Hunold, Matthias, Reinhold Kesler and Ulrich Laitenberger (2019), Mehr Transparenz bei Suchergebnissen auf Onlineplattformen nützt den Verbrauchern, ZEW policy brief No. 19-06, Mannheim. Download

Hinnosaar, Marit, Toomas Hinnosaar, Michael Kummer and Olga Slivkó (2019), Externalities in Knowledge Production: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 19-007, Mannheim. Download

Borchert, Kathrin, Matthias Hirth, Michael Kummer, Ulrich Laitenberger, Olga Slivkó and Steffen Viete (2018), Unemployment and Online Labor, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 18-023, Mannheim. Download

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


Land Baden-Württemberg , Stuttgart , DE

Project duration

01.04.2016 - 31.03.2019