The researchers of the Structural Change and Competition unit monitor corporate activity in a constantly changing market environment.
The markets which form the competitive environments for companies can differ widely, varying, for instance, in the composition of supply and demand and in the institutional framework that flanks all business activities. In addition, markets are constantly changing – nowadays in particular because of the digitization of all areas of life.
Against this backdrop, the economists of the research unit Structural Change and Competition examine the strategic behavior of companies, the design of markets and the impact of government regulation on competition.
The aim of the research is to provide policy recommendations in order to foster efficient and welfare-enhancing competition and facilitate successful business creation and development.
The researchers particularly focus on the effects of digitization on competition. The increasing interconnectedness of people, machines and processes and the associated automation and intelligent self-organization of production (autonomy) implies many questions and challenges for industry, policy and society.
The focus of this section is the interaction between companies and markets as well as the interaction among companies. The IW researchers examine the impact of the organization and regulation of markets on businesses and competition. Furthermore, they investigate issues concerning the market design and the regulation of new technologies, for example in the context of Industry 4.0. The Digital Single Market initiative of the EU is also carefully examined.
The main interest of this research section is the development of companies. Companies are founded, they grow or shrink, and some eventually leave the market. Companies adapt to changing circumstances, but they also affect structural change themselves. A crucial issue treated in this research section is the establishment of an institutional framework that renders Germany an attractive place for business for companies from all over the world.
Companies that exploit their own data can use it to analyse and improve their business processes and thus improve their results. Firms can also benefit from using data jointly with other companies.
The EU's position as a major global economic power is increasingly under threat. On the one hand, this is a consequence of the crises that the EU has faced in the last two decades. In particular, these include the global financial crisis (2007-2009), the euro crisis (2010-2012), the refugee crisis (2015-2016), Brexit (2016-2020), the Corona pandemic since 2020 and the war in Ukraine from 2022.
This policy paper shows the development of foundations of new companies and start-ups in Germany and, after a look at the international venture capital markets, presents the Future Fund, with which the German government wants to put start-up financing on a new footing.
This IW Report analyses the importance of entrepreneurial activity and Venture Capital for economic growth. Potential growth has declined significantly in the highly developed countries in recent years.
The Corona pandemic and the measures taken to contain the virus have delivered an asymmetrical shock to German business. This asymmetry is exemplified by the effects on the retail trade, an import ant part of the nation’s economy.