Comparative-Historical Perspectives on Platform Capitalism

The Focus Group “Comparative-Historical Perspectives on Platform Capitalism” comprises as principal investigators Hans Fischer Senior Fellow Prof. Kathleen Thelen (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)  and her host Prof. Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt (TUM School of Governance).

Our research focuses on the origins and evolution of political-economic institutions in the rich democracies, together with the impact they exercise on contemporary political outcomes. New global giants such as Amazon and Google have put competition and antitrust policy at the top of the public policy agenda. A first goal, therefore, is to complete a study that situates research on regulation of these new platform firms within a broader comparative-historical perspective, focusing on a comparison of Germany and the United States. Beyond this, in a wide range of industries the advent of the new platform business model poses a host of new challenges to existing labor relations and collective bargaining regimes. Thus, a second goal is to advance our understanding of cross-nationally divergent responses to the labor issues raised by the growth of platform firms and the growth in various forms of “atypical” employment in a range of industries.

Publications by the Focus Group


  • Foster, Chase; Thelen, Kathleen: Brandeis in <scp>Brussels</scp>? Bureaucratic discretion, social learning, and the development of regulated competition in the <scp>European Union</scp>. Regulation &amp; Governance, 2023 mehr…