Seminar: Getting Inside the Digital Economies

Course content

The objective of this seminar is to enable the student to understand how the new digital economy work when earnings are made from a different source than the direct service delivered. Also, it is the objective to enable the student to apply known economic models to the altered digital market system. Three examples on possible discussions that could be made in this seminar:

  • How could Facebook, Google and Uber become so profitable, when the service they provide is free?
  • What is the impact when megamarkets such as Amazon or Alibaba enter an industry?
  • Is it possible (and if so how) to move or integrate a business to an online business environment?

MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome

After completing the seminar the student is expected to be able to fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and to be able to:



  • Understand how the digital economies work, how profits are made and how the economic models from “old” economies can be applied to the digital economy.
  • Account for how digital economies work both in existing (non-digital) industries and in digital industries.
  • Describe how the digital economy is either similar to or different from the “old” economy and put it in perspective to known economic models from either industrial organization or micro economic theory.
  • Define what economic model that will be best suited to describe a business operating in a digital economy. The arguments for the description must be soundly founded.



  • Analyze a business or an industry and be able to advocate for or against if either is able to perform well in a digital economy.
  • Evaluate what parameters that describe either a business or an industry and compare these parameters with known economic models.
  • Discuss the possible economic consequences for a business or an industry if it either initiates in a digital economy or how it will be influenced by competition from a digital service or product.



  • Plan a move into a digital economy either for an existing business or for a new initiative or company.
  • Implement the necessary steps in order to execute the planned move into a digital economy. This ability of implementation will also be based on the recognition of the underlying economic model.
  • Identify and initiate collaborations within the business or industry with relevant parties that will help execute the planned move of a business into a digital economy.

At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

The aim of the presentations is, that you use the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback at the paper. The presentations are not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.
The teacher defines what materials may be used for the presentations.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the seminar paper after the presentation has taken place.

In case of a pandemic like Corona the teaching in this seminar may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online. For further information, see the course room on Absalon.

This list is not complete and is only to give a perspective on the areas that are relevant to the seminar.Hence, it will of course not be expected nor necessary to have read all the below mentioned litterature:

  • Kim, W.C.; Mauborgne, R. (2005). Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. ISBN 978-1591396192.
  • Porter, Michael E. (1985). Competitive Advantage. Free Press. ISBN 0-684-84146-0.
  • Malinvaud, Edmond. Lectures on microeconomic theory, North-Holland, 1972. ISBN: 9780444876508
  • Tirole, Jean: “The Theory of Industrial Organization” MIT press, 1988, ISBN: 9780262200714
  • Tapscott, Don (2015): “The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence Anniversary Edition” McGraw-Hill. ISBN-13: 978-0070622005
  • Juan-José Ganuza and Gerard Llobert (2018). “ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION”. Funcas. ISBN: 978-84-15722-94-6


Articles and papers:

  • OECD (2017). Trust in Peer Platform Markets. OECD Digital Economy Papers November 2017 No. 263


Must read: Before attending the seminar the students are expected to have read

  • Avi Goldfarb, Catherine Tucker (2017). Digital Economics. NBER Working Paper No. 23684

This seminar will draw on models from industrial organization and microeconomic theory as basics to understand and recognize how the digital economics work.

Hence the student should have a basic knowledge on Industrial Organization having followed the courses Industrial Organization and Microeconomic I + II at the Study of Economics, Copenhagen University, or have interest within these subjects.

The student will benefit from attending one of the courses Advanced Industrial Organization, Advanced Strategic Management or Strategic Management at the Study of Economics, Copenhagen University, or similar, but is not a prerequisite for taking the seminar

The approach to the seminar is seen from a business perspective, so there will only be little reference to the macro-economic impacts from the digital economy.

BSc in Economics or similar


Spring 2021:

• Kick-Off meeting: Wednesday 10 February, at 08.15-10.00
• Deadline for submitting commitmentpaper/ project description: Not later than March 1st or as specified by the lecturer.
• Deadline of seminar paper uploaded to Absalon: Not later than one week before the presentations or as specified by the lecturer.
• Progress meetings – i.e. preliminary review of the students papers: Thursday 15 April and Friday 16 April - 4 hours, starting 08.15-12.00 both days. If there are two teams, the same process must be repeated, Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 April.
• Presentations must be held on Thursday 6 May and on Friday 7 May at 08.15-14.00 both days. If there are two teams, the same process must
be repeated, Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 May.

General information:

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/agreement paper.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum and at KUNet for seminars.
All aids allowed

for the seminar paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.


To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • English
  • 206