TILT seminar: Dr. Bertin Martens

Date: Time: 12:00 Location: Zoom Meeting

A newly emerging form of regime competition: access to digital data

We start with a case study (co-authored with Bo Zhao) of industrial B2G data sharing in Shanghai, China. It is mandatory for car manufacturers to share in real-time electro-mechanical performance and navigation data from their entire fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles with local and central government authorities. A key objective of this policy is to boost the competitiveness of Chinese manufacturers of these vehicles.  We argue that economies of scope in data aggregation may provide traditional market failure arguments for this government intervention and accelerate the pace of innovation.   Asymmetric access rights may distort competition however. 

We use the case study to discuss some general questions in data regime design. The socially optimal level of data aggregation and redistribution depends on the policy objectives of the data regime.  We distinguish between data regimes that pursue (a) Pareto-optimal welfare policies and therefore protect private data rights for natural persons and firms, and (b) Kaldor-Hicks regimes that seek to maximize the societal value of data, possibly at the expense of private rights.  We argue that, with strong economies of scope in data aggregation, when the social value of data exceeds the private value, Kaldor-Hicks data regimes have a competitive advantage over Pareto data regimes.  This is true at any regime level, from private firms and platforms to national governments. However, there may be hidden costs: disincentives to invest in innovation. 

Speaker: Dr. Bertin Marten 

Bertin Martens is a senior economist at the Joint Research Centre (Seville) of the European Commission, working on digital economy issues.  His current research interests focus on economic and regulatory issues around access and use of digital data in online platforms and in a variety of sectors.  Prior to that, he was deputy Chief Economist for Trade in the European Commission in Brussels and carried out various other assignments, working extensively on international and institutional economics issues. He holds a PhD in economics from the Free University of Brussels.

Host: Bo Zhao

Time:  12:00 -13:30