Contested Terrain: three battlefields in which to study the digital economy

The increasing dissemination of digital tools and the establishment of a digital infrastructure have sparked a transformation towards digital economies, a central feature of which are platforms. Premised upon network effects and the control of the flow of information converted into data points, they have become a disruptive force in the business landscape. Distinguishing between infrastructure and sectoral platforms, Anke Hassel and Felix Sieker show that the current trajectory of digital transformation is dominated by big tech companies because they both provide and control the digital infrastructure. However, the current trajectory is not inevitable, and different regulatory and business models are possible. Anke Hassel and Felix Sieker analyse three key battlefields that will decide the future of the digital economy: (1) Growth trajectories, (2) the regulation of infrastructure platforms and (3) the debate over employment and labour standards. 

Felix Sieker is a PhD Candidate at the Hertie School. His work focuses on platforms, social innovation and inequality. 

Anke Hassel and Felix Sieker (2021). Contested Terrain: three battlefields in which to study the digital economy, Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy. 

Photo: CC Compare Fibre, Source: Unsplash