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.
Industrial organization and competition
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.