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Workshop on Digital Markets

In January 2020 the Tobin Center hosted a full-day research symposium workshop at Yale for attracting over 20 leading economic theorists and other economists from around the world.

Data markets and the institutions active in those markets (for instance, large social media and search platforms) are under intense public discussion and policy debate. Notwithstanding the maturity, scale, and ubiquity of these markets, our theoretical understanding them is limited.  The lack of a theoretical framework may compromise the quality and sophistication of any future policy that would oversee, regulate, and enable these markets.

The symposium and workshop kicked off a Tobin-coordinated effort –   led by Yale economists Fiona Scott Morton and Dirk Bergemann - to accelerate development of new theoretical understanding tailored to data markets as well as improved empirical understanding of how they work.

This goal-driven workshop launched the development of an actionable research agenda, with an emphasis on the most important theoretical questions that may underpin smarter, more informed policy. At this facilitated workshop, theorists from around the world explored many open theoretical questions surrounding the organization and structure of the digital markets. The format was intended to support the group of microeconomic theorists in beginning to develop an economic theory of digital markets. The first event of its kind, it helped give rise to an a broader, policy-driven research agenda and an informal working group of economist taking on policy relevant questions of digital market theory.  The conference also led to a curated literature review that we have made broadly accessible.