Tilburg Law and Economics Center

Governance of Big Data and AI (2019)

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) and the Governance and Regulation Chair (GovReg) at University Paris-Dauphine | PSL Research University organized the 5th Governance workshop "Governance of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives" in June 2019.

Keynote Speakers

Name University
Antoine Bordes Facebook Research
Ruben Durante Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger University of Oxford
Molly Roberts US San Diego


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Scientific Background and Goal of the Workshop

Datafication has massively influenced processes within organizations, on markets, and more generally throughout society. Machine learning pushes the loop between data accumulation and innovation even further. After four economic governance workshops that focused on the role of competition (in 2010), organizations (in 2013), social preferences (in 2015), and data-driven markets (in 2017), respectively, we now strive to stimulate the debate about the economic, political, legal, and social effects of big data and artificial intelligence.

As a case of special focus, algorithm-driven platforms such as social media, search engines, and news aggregators have become dominant players in news dissemination.

This has transformed the media sector and the way we think about democratic political elections and the legitimacy of those elections’ outcomes, with yet unknown consequences for our political systems  and for many markets that are tipping towards the technological leader.

These developments challenge our rules of the game: are Western institutions, formal and informal, set up appropriately to ensure fair competition among firms, innovators, politicians, or political parties? What does it mean for competition law, privacy and data access laws, international treaties, election commissions’ procedures, and the codes of conduct on online platforms if most of us can be traced and monitored most of the time – but these masses of data can only be accessed, worked with, and potentially be manipulated by a few parties? Are we heading towards a future with virtually unbounded opportunities and progress for humanity – or towards a setting, where the state or large private actors control every aspect of life and the net profits of global technological progress are enjoyed by very few very rich and influential individuals?

Combining approaches from (institutional) economics, political science, and law, the goal of this workshop is threefold:

  1. What problems are specific to data-driven markets? What is the theory of harm, that is, what are the problems limiting optimal solutions? What are the underlying mechanisms that lead to the potential harm identified? A special focus of this workshop is the impact of big data and AI on politics, both in democracies and in autocracies.
  2. In sectors where a theory of harm can be carved out, is there a need for intervention in political landscapes, markets, or even international relations? What kind of interventions might solve or mitigate the problems identified? Or is it best to leave innovation infrastructures untouched, even if market failures and election rigging were identified, and rely on competitive forces to solve the problems?
  3. If intervention is needed in one sector, what is the best way of intervention to tackle which problem? How should data-driven political systems or markets be governed? By national or supranational regulation (public ordering)? Or by self-governance of citizens or industry-participants in some form (private ordering)? Should behavior be monitored by private associations or public-private partnerships? What are critical elements for the corporate governance structure of monitoring or regulatory bodies?

The Governance and Regulation Chair at the University Paris-Dauphine | PSL (GovReg) and the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) are joining forces for a two-day workshop to discuss topics related to these goals.

Specific topics include (but are not limited to)

  • Which parts of the political opinion formation process and what types of markets are affected most by the rise of big data and algorithms? What is the defining element of these structures?
  • How is the competitive process impacted by datafication? Would algorithms be able to oversee the competitive process?
  • How could social, legal or political institutions be affected by data-driven business models?
  • What exactly are problems stemming from limited privacy? Are mechanisms aimed at controlling privacy implementable given the reach of statistical inferences?
  • How are opinions and beliefs shaped by algorithms and data-driven processes? Does the answer to this question have implications for the future of democracy, rule of law, collective governance capabilities, openness of (economic and political) competition?
  • Can the postulated negative effects of big data and AI for democracies and data-driven markets that were advanced by theoretical research be substantiated empirically?
  • Are there case studies that compare several types of governance structures — e.g. private vs. public; national vs. transnational — aimed at regulating industries that are transformed by big data?
  • How to deal with the attempts of governments — both democratic and authoritarian — in relying on digital services to monitor citizens and organizations of all kinds?

Program Committee

Name University
Johannes Binswanger University of St. Gallen
Eric Brousseau Dauphine Universite Paris
Ruben Durante Universitat de Pomeu Fabra in Barcelona
Lapo Filistrucchi

Tilburg University / University of Florence

 Eleonora Freddi Tilburg University
Inge Graef Tilburg University
Martin Husovec Tilburg University
Julien Jourdan HEC Paris
Madina Kurmangaliyeva Tilburg University
Pierre Larouche Universite de Montreal
Wieland Müller Tilburg University / Universitat Wien
Jens Prüfer Tilburg University
Francesco Sobbrio LUISS Rome
Joelle Toledano Dauphine Universite Paris


Name University
Eric Brousseau Dauphine Universite Paris
Jens Prüfer Tilburg University

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