On the trail of dominant platforms: ESMT Professor receives around 1.5 million euro in grant funding

11.09.2019 |  Also a great outcome for Brain City Berlin: Özlem Bedre-Defolie, Associate Professor of Economics at the ESMT Berlin international business school has been awarded the Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). Her project, which examines the dynamics of dominant digital platforms in the market, will be funded between 2020 and 2024 with a total of 1.49 million euro.


Her research goal sounds very abstract at first: It is about “the development of new theoretical models of digital platforms that can better represent their particular dynamics than previous research.” But the approach of the research project “Digital Platforms: Pricing, Variety, and Quality Provision” (DIPVAR) by Özlem Bedre-Defolie is anchored in the middle of our everyday life.

“The rise of global digital platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Google is affecting the lives of hundreds of millions of people,” said the economist, who holds a professorship at the ESMT international business university. “Most of these platforms have a very high market share, which could prove detrimental to consumers, even if they receive many services at zero cost.” In fact, according to Bedre-Defolie, there have been state antitrust investigations and interventions in the past given in the business policy of dominant platforms.

The DIPVAR project seeks to shed some light on the abuse of economic power in the network: Following the development of appropriate models, the second phase of the project will examine the practices of dominant platforms and their impact on consumers more closely: in terms of price, diversity, quality, and smaller competitors. Finally, the project intends to present recommendations for an effective competition policy for digital markets.

ERC Starting Grants: Support for outstanding young researchers

An approach that could significantly improve consumer protection within the European Union. It is no coincidence that Özlem Bedre-Defolie has now received the 1.49 million euro Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). ERC Starting Grants are awarded to outstanding up-and-coming scientists of all nationalities and disciplines for a period of five years. As part of the funding, several new positions will be created for postdoctoral and PhD candidates.

Özlem Bedre-Defolie is an Associate Professor of Economics at ESMT Berlin. She holds a doctorate in economics from the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in France, which was followed by postdoctoral research at the École Polytechnique in Paris. She has worked at ESMT Berlin since 2010. Her research interests include contracts and pricing strategies of digital platforms, pricing and variant selection of multi-product companies, demand estimation in the payment card industry, and vertical relationships. (vdo)