Clara Wolff

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Research Interests: Cooperative Economics, Digitization, Welfare, Ecological Economics, Feminist Economics

As a member of the junior research group and a researcher at IÖW, I am focusing on the socio-economic impact of decentralized digital platforms. My academic background lies between mathematics, computer science and economics with a specialization on sustainability economics.

Although I have a strong fascination for digital technologies, I see them as a powerful tool, whose impact strongly depends on the societal and institutional circumstances. Therefore, I find it crucial to have a societal discourse about how, where and to which extent we want to use these technologies. In this regard, I see the rise of digital platforms as a phenomenon, which might highly influence the way of organizing the allocation of resources, production, paid and non-paid work, social relations and the access to informational goods.

Within platforms2share, I am dealing with the question of potentially welfare-enhancing impacts of a decentralization of digital platforms. Considering two different forms of decentralization – decentralized ownership of platform organizations and decentralized ownership of user data – I am looking at the way it can change welfare economic results: To which extent can decentralized data ownership shape structures of relevant markets by enabling interoperability and lowering lock-in effects? Do cooperative organizational forms behave differently in situations of natural monopolies and thereby lead to efficiency improvements? Do decentralized platforms create different kinds of (possibly also nonpecuniary) values and thus influence users’ and members’ individual welfare?

In order to answer these questions, I will use a mixed-method approach: a combination of quantitative and qualitative empirical methods. Those studies will provide the empirical foundation of a quantitative economic simulation of different scenarios for a decentralized platform economy. The results may offer a science-based decision support in the discourse about desirable developments and goals of regulatory action in the digital economy.

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