Exogenous factors oblige TILEC researchers to think anew. Technological advances (e.g., artificial intelligence, automation, digitization, or the increased significance of the collaborative economy) create fertile ground for new approaches and ideas in terms of governance and regulation.
We consider new technologies and digitalization as important game-changers that must be taken into account when public intervention with market forces is being contemplated. Thus, for the period 2018-2023, TILEC will devote special attention to the influence of digitalization in the governance of economic activity.
We consider digitalization as the way different facets of social life are restructured around digital communication and media infrastructures. This concept is broader than that of digitization, which refers to the conversion of analog to digital information. Given the type of work we have delivered based on the outgoing research program, we are well-versed to deliver groundbreaking research outcomes. In order to achieve our objectives, we focus our research efforts on (i) the design and characteristics of well-functioning institutions and their governance, (ii) competition, and (iii) innovation. In doing so, we are confident that we take into account the key forces and concepts that allow for societally relevant research of the finest quality, also with a view to offer pointers for adequate intervention in the marketplace.
As previously, the incoming research program makes explicit the absence of any ideological bias in favor of (unregulated) markets at the expense of other policy solutions; rather, the emphasis is on governance as much as on well-functioning markets. We view markets as instruments, which can be shaped, and which may need to be shaped and regulated, in order to deliver the desired social objectives. We maintain the same understanding of governance as an organizing or encompassing concept that includes various fields such as institutional analysis, political economy, organizational behavior, industrial organization, law and economics, economic law and regulatory systems. We understand TILEC’s research topic as the design, implementation and operation of the structures, legal or otherwise, needed to sustain economic activity in the digital age, notably through contract law, corporate law, trade law, intellectual property law, competition policy, or economic regulation.
Thus, the overarching research question that constitutes the liaison among the various research interests of TILEC members boils down to the following:
Taking into account the growing digitalization of society, exemplified by the increasingly important role that big data and artificial intelligence play for the functioning of markets and other forms of social interaction, how should institutions and structures be designed and what types of incentives can be adopted so as to ensure that public policy objectives are attained?