Empirical Industrial Organization

What is IO?

Research in Empirical Industrial Organization (IO) involves using datasets to study the structure of markets and the behavior of firms and individuals in these markets. The focus is primarily on markets in which firms interact in an imperfecly competitive environment. Given that firms compete (often non-cooperatively), the models that we study in empirical IO have a game-theoretic foundation.  Some examples of questions studied in empirical IO include: how firms use tools at their disposal (such as prices, advertising, etc.) to gain market share; how sensitive consumers are to price changes; how certain industry structures can facilitate competition (or collusion), etc.  Due to the nature of the field, there is a large overlap with topics in economic policy, antitrust, and competition policy (such as assessing the welfare impact of a proposed merger).

Empirical IO is a data intensive field that involves using data on firms, consumers, or aggregate markets to estimate models of firm behavior, consumer demand, or industry structure.  Therefore, research in this field combines several elements: theory, institutional background, datasets and data coding, econometric tools and computation. 

We offer courses in topics related to empirical IO at the bachelor, masters, and PhD level.  For example, antitrust, industrial organziation, seminars in empirical IO, etc.  In addition, it is possible to write a bachelors or masters thesis by contacting any of the below faculty in this area:

Katheleen Nosel 

Michelle Sovinsky

Ulrich Wagner