Com-DPE is phase three of the ECOANTITRUST initiative, which seeks conceptual and methodological inspirations from natural ecosystems to inform policy tools for the digital economy.

Com-DPE analyzes digital platform ecosystems as complex adaptive systems (CAS) and establishes whether the CAS theory can guide the transfer of insights, approaches, and tools from ecology to the context of digital platform ecosystems to inform policy.

The term ‘ecosystem’ was introduced from ecology to describe networked businesses by Moore (1993). Following his contributions, various ecological phenomena have been repurposed as metaphors to provide insight for digitalization and business ecosystems. Although there have been various justifications for the application of ecological metaphors, the selection and incorporation of concepts from natural ecosystems (NE) to business ecosystems have not adhered to a systematic framework or reasoning which realizes such transfers. This has also limited their applicability in informing adequate antitrust legislation in an era of platformization.

Phase one and two of the ECOANTITRUST initiative assessed the credibility of assessing networked businesses as ecosystems and explored the usefulness of ecological concepts, taxonomy, and methods to develop a systems approach to regulating complex digital platforms ecosystems. Com-DPE is the third phase which builds on these ambitions. At its crux, Com-DPE proposes that business ecosystems, and thereby DPEs, are comparable to NEs since they share common fundamental attributes of complex adaptive systems (CAS). Based on the formation of this structural justification, the project develops a conceptual framework that allows for a more grounded approach toward transferring ecological concepts in managing the digital network economy.

The research work makes a significant contribution to the body of literature on digital platforms and ecosystems by identifying digital platform ecosystems as CAS and thereby moving beyond an ad-hoc approach to the application of ecological ideas and toward a systematic framework through which CAS theory could transform the way we study digital platform ecosystems and its agents. Consequently, the project also develops modeling tools utilizing evolutionary game theory and agent-based modeling to simulate the development of multi-sided platforms. This research project integrates several qualitative and quantitative methods including:

1.  To analyze digital platform ecosystems under the lens of complex adaptive systems theory and establish logical structures which allow for the transfer of scientific analogical reasoning from ecology to explain observed phenomena in digital markets.

2. To develop a framework for the organization of agents, processes, and interactions in the digital economy based on the hierarchical levels of organization established in ecological literature to facilitate a comprehensive and considered approach to informing antitrust regulation with ecological insights.

3. To apply evolutionary game theory and agent-based modelling to stimulate the development and expansion of multi-sided businesses and digital platform ecosystems.

To read more about the stage one of the ECOANTITRUST initiative, click here.

To read more about the stage two of the ECOANTITRUST initiative, click here.

Rovenskaya, E. , Ivanov, A., Boza, G. , Scharler, U., & Hathiari, S. (2022). Ecology to the Rescue! Unravelling the complexities of the digital economy. In: Systems Analysis for Reducing Footprints and Enhancing Resilience, 16-17 November, 2022, Vienna, Austria.

Erokhin, D., Yosipof, A., & Komendantova, N (2022). Conspiracy Theories Discussion in Social Media. In: SECAT 2022 - Scientific Expertise, Communication and Trust, 27-28 September 2022, Aarhus, Denmark.

Rovenskaya, E. (2023). Social media and platforms as a new source of data for understanding societies and humans. In: Third Digital Day: At the Roots of Digitalisation, 10-11 March 2023, University of Florence, Italy.



28 July 2023

ECOANTITRUST Presents at the 18th Conference of the Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA)

Digital platforms have long understood themselves as ecosystems and adopted an ecosystem mindset toward growth, competition, and governance. The ecosystem approach has helped the digital platform business model become one of the most successful in the last three decades and proliferate beyond the bounds of regulatory jurisdictions. This bodes the question: is regulation still in a mechanistic trap?
WiFi city

04 May 2023

A Data Treasure Trove: How social media has become an unexpected source of natural experiments

A person using digital communication leaves behind a trail of information on their activities, their interactions, and even some about who they are. Social media has become quintessential to the modern lives of billions of people which means that billions of trails are recorded on social media and communications platforms. This data has come to be a treasure trove of aggregated information which scientists can use to decipher the most unique trends and behaviors on a societal level. As part of her ongoing research at ASA, Elena Rovenskaya presented on the significance of social media as a source of information for science and its usefulness in understanding complex systems behaviors.
Rio de Janeiro

19 December 2022

Can Ecology Inspire Transformations of Competition Law and Policy in the Digital Economy?

Economic thinking has continuously sought inspiration from natural sciences such as physics, biology, and mechanics. Elena Rovenskaya, as part of her ongoing research in ASA, delivered a presentation on the ecological concepts and theories which can revive economic thinking to better inform competition law and policy formulations in a dynamic digital environment.