What is the Data Catalyst Institute?

The Data Catalyst Institute (DCI) analyzes trends and challenges at the intersection of innovation, business, government, and public opinion. It develops intelligence and curates experts to help leaders who need novel solutions to complex situations.

Maximum Impact: How Digital Ads Level the Playing Field for U.S. Small Businesses

This report shows that today’s digital advertising market offers America’s SMBs more ways than ever before to reach potential customers, sell products, drive revenue, grow, and successfully compete in the marketplace. Read More

Research Reports

March 15, 2023

Insights

Understanding Individual U.S. Political Donations by Employer

Individual retail employees’ political donations often favor specific parties. The 2020 election cycle saw an influx of donations, swinging some companies’ partisan leanings.

By Elise Buellesbach

Coinbase Study: Young Americans Embrace Crypto as a Financial Opportunity

GenZ and Millenials are more favorable towards crypto than older counterparts. They believe crypto is the future and blockchain technology will provide significant economic opportunities.

By Matias Hernandez

New Research Shows AI Tools Are Nearly Ubiquitous Among E-Commerce Professionals

Businesses have already started to experiment with and implement new AI technologies. The idea of AI integration for business is no longer a looming possibility–it is a reality.

By Matias Hernandez

Goldman Sachs: 70% of SMBs Applying for Loans Say It’s Difficult to Access Capital

Goldman Sachs reports that small business owners nationwide still struggle to gain the capital they need to operate and expand their businesses in a post-COVID market. In an environment of higher interest rates and tighter lending standards, SMBs applying for new loans find it difficult to access capital.

By Lilly Gillespie

Discover, Buy, and Sell Fine Art: Q&A with Artsy’s VP of Collector Sales, Jessica Backus

Check out how Artsy – an online marketplace where people can buy and sell art – has taken an age-old practice to e-commerce in our Q&A with their VP of Collector Sales, Jessica Backus.

By Data Catalyst Institute

A Digital Safety Net “Catches” Maui-based Small Businesses Affected by Wildfires

Maui-based small businesses take digital tools to communicate with their customers, continue making sales, and rally support for their community in the wake of tragic wildfires.

By Hitha Herzog

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August 2023

Race to Regulation: Assessing the Impact of Proposed U.S. State Competition Bills on Small & Medium-sized Businesses

Several U.S. states have considered new antitrust legislation that abandons the long-held “consumer welfare standard” of competition in favor of a reduced and less rigorous “dominance” standard. DCI convened business, economics, and legal experts to discuss how such legislation might affect America’s millions of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

August 2023

Getting the Download: The Economics of Small App Publishers

This report presents findings from a survey of senior leaders of small and medium-sized businesses that publish at least one app to quantify the value that apps and app stores provide them.

June 2023

Analysis of State-Level “Abuse of Dominance” Antitrust Legislation and its Relevance to Small and Midsize Businesses

Several U.S. states are currently considering unprecedented antitrust legislation that abandons the long-held “consumer welfare standard” in favor of a “dominance” standard. After careful analysis, this memo recommends that state legislators reconsider so-called “abuse of dominance” (AOD) antitrust legislation and consider its (very likely) adverse impact on small businesses.

June 2023

Breaking the Model, Part 2: How New York’s New Government-Imposed Wage Hikes Will Break the NYC Restaurant Delivery Economy

This analysis shows how food deliverer pay mandates, on top of existing limits on fees that delivery services are permitted to charge restaurants (often referred to as fee caps), would “break the model” of the NYC Restaurant Delivery Economy by disrupting the economic equilibrium between diners, restaurants, delivery services (apps), and deliverers.

May 2023

Breaking the Model: Analysis of the NYC Restaurant Delivery Economy, Including Government-Proposed Fee Caps and Wage Hikes

NYC recently imposed fee caps (price controls) on third-party restaurant delivery apps. This analysis finds that while price controls can solve short-term problems, they almost always reduce long-term value for stakeholders.

May 2023

Super Selling: Most Small Businesses Still Use Multiple Sales Methods in a Post-COVID World

The latest ‘Super Selling’ research on contemporary small business retailers shows they take advantage of many different options for selling and fulfilling customer orders.

April 2023

Leadership at Risk: How International Students Can Help Save America’s Global Economic and National Security Leadership

How can America fix its increasing STEM graduate shortage and thereby support its innovation economies and global leadership aspirations?

March 2023

Maximum Impact: How Digital Ads Level the Playing Field for U.S. Small Businesses

This report shows that today’s digital advertising market offers America’s SMBs more ways than ever before to reach potential customers, sell products, drive revenue, grow, and successfully compete in the marketplace.

October 2022

Super Selling: Exploring the Diversification and Potential of Rural Small Business Retail Sales

This research report takes an in-depth look at how modern rural small businesses in the U.S. reach their customers and sell their products through a variety of online and offline sales methods.

September 2022

Fee Caps on Food Apps: Exploring NYC Law Setting Maximum Restaurant Delivery Fees

DCI convened a discussion group of economists and experts (predominantly from NYC) and posed questions to investigate if the NYC fee cap ordinance would help restaurants as intended, or instead trigger unanticipated harm.

August 2022

Estimates of Potential Harm to U.S. Small and Medium Sized Businesses from Proposed Antitrust Legislation Aimed at Large Digital Platforms

This report estimates conservatively that SMB sellers would lose roughly $500 billion in sales in just the first five years after the passage of the proposed antitrust legislation aimed at “Big Tech” companies (i.e., S. 2992).

August 2022

Caps on Apps: Why Fee Caps On Food Delivery Platforms Won’t Help (and Will Likely Hurt) Small Restaurants

This paper reviews some of the available research on the regulation of multi-sided marketplaces as well as specific aspects of the NYC fee cap law and concludes that government-imposed fee caps are bad policy.

July 2022

How Populist Antitrust Legislation Would Harm the U.S. Tech Startup Ecosystem

This paper analyzes how several pieces of Congressional legislation (notably the American Innovation and Choice Online Act) would disrupt platforms that tech startups heavily rely on.

July 2022

Estimates of Harm to Small Business Retailers from Antitrust Legislation Directed at Large Digital Platforms

This report estimates that if the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) passes, it would cause U.S. small businesses to lose $500B in sales over the next five years.

June 2022

Super Selling: Most Rural Small Businesses Use Multiple Sales Methods

This report details the main results of a survey of small business sellers in rural U.S. areas, with a focus on how they have many options for selling their products both online and offline.

May 2022

A New Economic Lens For Exploring the Negative Effects of Digital Platform Antitrust Legislation on American Small Businesses

This paper applies a “platform governance” lens to describe in a detailed way how draft “progressive antitrust” legislation in Congress would harm small businesses.

March 2022

Tech Industry Acquisitions and Competition: Counterpoints to an Incomplete FTC Study and Legislation that Relies on It. Part 2. How ‘Big Tech’ Acquisitions of Tech Startups Reflect Enhanced Competition

These new research results call for a reevaluation of policymakers’ assumptions about “big tech” M&A. In particular, they suggest that tech acquisitions are a symptom of healthy competition. (Part 2/2)

March 2022

Tech Industry Acquisitions and Competition: Counterpoints to an Incomplete FTC Study and Legislation that Relies on It. Part 1. Tech Merger and Acquisition (M&A) Activity Fuels Expansion and Innovation Across Many Industries

These new research results call for a reevaluation of policymakers’ assumptions about “big tech” M&A. In particular, they suggest that tech acquisitions are a symptom of healthy competition. (Part 1/2)

February 2022

Super Selling: U.S. Small Businesses In Every Part of the Country Use Multiple Sales Methods

This research report analyzes how modern small businesses in different regions of the U.S. reach their customers and sell their products through a variety of online and offline sales methods.

February 2022

Competitor Welfare: Why the Open App Markets Act (S. 2710) Benefits the App Store One Percenters – and Perhaps No One Else

We analyzed the Open App Markets Act (S. 2710) from the point of view of small app publishers (small businesses typically with less than 20 employees) whose products make up the broad majority of available smartphone apps across both major app stores.

January 2022

Unintended Consequences: How the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” (S. 2992) Will Unwittingly Hurt America’s Independent Software Developers and Small App Publishers

This working group of software developers, small app publishers, and other small businesses working in the app ecosystem discussed S. 2992 and its potential consequences.

January 2022

Data Catalyst Institute Analysis of S. 2992, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act”

DCI’s analysis of S. 2992, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” suggests that there will be unintended consequences for software developers and small app publishers.

November 2021

Super Selling: How Contemporary Small Businesses Reach Customers and Sell Products

This research report takes an in-depth look at how modern small businesses reach their customers and sell their products through a variety of online and offline sales methods.

October 2021

Super Selling: Most Small Businesses Use Multiple Sales Methods

The evolution of traditional retail alongside the growth of digital selling has created an infinite variety of options and aggressive competition for sellers’ attention, investment and allegiance.

September 2021

Sharpening the Edge: The State Of the Digital Innovation Economy

This report explains how American innovation has traditionally thrived because of sound policy decisions at the federal level. It then discusses several influences on the future growth of digital innovation in the United States.

August 2021

Nightmare on Main Street: The Effects of ‘Populist Antitrust’ on America’s Small Businesses

This Analysis Memo examines important questions Congress and regulators have yet to address the about broad and unintended consequences of Populist Antitrust on U.S. small businesses.

August 2021

Analysis of the House Judiciary Committee Tech Antitrust Legislation and Report Card on ‘Populist Antitrust’

The House Judiciary Committee recently approved bills intended to “enhance antitrust enforcement and restore competition online.” This Issue Brief outlines DCI’s concerns with each bill and then presents a Report Card for the broader “Populist Antitrust” movement.

July 2021

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Data Dives: Data Sharing Between Delivery Platforms and Restaurants

The New York City Council is considering legislation that would require third-party platforms to share consumer data with restaurants. DCI assembled an expert Working Group to discuss issues related to restaurant data sharing, consumer privacy, and innovation.

July 2021

Analysis of the New York City Council Proposed Bill (Int. 2311) – “Data on orders placed through third-party food delivery services”

This Issue Brief outlines DCI’s analysis of New York City Council Proposed Bill (Int. 2311) – “Data on orders placed through third-party food delivery services” – and, ultimately, our argument for reconsidering specific aspects of it that would endanger consumer data privacy.

July 2021

Roaring Twenties or Digital Depression? Unintended Consequences of Antitrust Activism on the U.S. Small Business Economy

This Analysis Memo considers the downstream consequences of increased antitrust regulation of very large tech companies in the U.S. and Europe on the digitally-driven small business economy emerging from the pandemic.

June 2021

Misfire: How the Digital Markets Act Will Unwittingly Hurt European Small Businesses

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is an EU legislative proposal intended to promote opportunities for new digital companies and services. DCI assembled an expert Working Group to investigate the DMA’s intended and potentially unintended consequences, and how these could affect digitally-empowered small businesses emerging from the pandemic.

June 2021

Enhancing Payroll Protection: Sustainable Financial Wellbeing

This Analysis Memo proposes that small business payrolls are a critical national economic asset and that the U.S. Small Business Administration should experiment with programs for “payroll innovation.”

April 2021

Digitally Driven/2021: U.S. Small Businesses Find a Digital Safety Net for Adaptation, Resilience, and Innovation During COVID-19

As the U.S. looks towards a “post-COVID world,” this report identifies a growing gap between small businesses adopting digital tools and those that remain uncertain and less digitally advanced. Published by the Connected Commerce Council.

April 2021

Achieving the PPP Mission: A Final Prescription and Beyond to Support All of America’s Small Businesses

PPP has failed the smallest small businesses, particularly minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses. This report from DCI’s PPP Working Group argues that Congress should refine the program with this in mind.

April 2021

Coming to America: Reopening the United States to International Students

This paper reviews current U.S. government restrictions on international students, the resulting educational, economic, and societal effects, and what actions can be taken to reverse the situation.

March 2021

Digitally Driven/Europe: European Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) – Transformation, Innovation, and Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This report describes how and to what extent digital tools enabled many European small businesses to survive and recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. Published by the Connected Commerce Council.

February 2021

Message in a Model: Stricter Data Regulation Hurts Small Publishers and Advertisers

This Technical Report models the effects of stricter data regulation rules on publishers and advertisers of various sizes interacting in a network.

January 2021

Shocking the System: The Economic Impact of Software Developer Kits

This technical report analyzes the economic value of software developer kit (SDK) releases and demonstrates their effects on the creation of new apps, phone sales, early-stage venture investment, and tech industry hiring.

September 2020

Economic benefits of online marketplaces for U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses

This report uses a systemic review of available data and literature to estimate the economic value that online marketplaces provide to U.S. small businesses. Published by the Connected Commerce Council.

September 2020

Digitally Driven: U.S. Small Businesses Find a Digital Safety Net During COVID-19

This survey of 7,000+ small businesses shows that digital tools have been critical for their success during COVID-19, providing them with a “Digital Safety Net.” Published by the Connected Commerce Council.

July 2020

DCI Quick Guide: Key Concepts To Know About Data Flow

In this DCI Quick Guide, we define a set of emerging terms used to describe economic and policy-related aspects of the data-driven world.

June 2020

Border Control: The Rise of Data Nationalism

This paper details, breaks down, and analyzes worldwide trends surrounding the rise of data nationalism — defined loosely as the effort by nation-states to ensure control over data for a range of normative and security-based reasons.

June 2020

Gettin’ Paid: Pros and Cons of Data Dividends

The value of data is contextual and determined by how it is being used; at different stages in its production cycle, it has varying degrees of economic utility. Furthermore it is often unclear who “owns” data, and what rights and responsibilities that comes with, as data is often co-created by multiple parties as part of…

May 2020

Digitally Empowered: How digital tools power small businesses amid COVID-19

This report demonstrates how small businesses deployed digital tools during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Published by the Connected Commerce Council with Google.

January 2020

Say It Ain’t So: GDPR Data Regulation Hurts EU Economic Growth

Does government regulation of data measurably affect the economy? This technical report examines the consequences of GDPR for investment in new EU tech startups, concluding its effects are broadly negative.

December 2019

Data Borders: Unintended Consequences of Localization Policies

Data localization, storing data within the borders of a country where it was generated, may enable those countries to benefit from their “data assets.”

December 2019

Backseat Driver: Privacy Implications of Connected Vehicles

Today’s U.S. mass-market cars are increasingly “smart,” with on-board wireless data connectivity that provides a range of services.

November 2019

Mission Critical: Are Tech Platforms Critical Infrastructure?

This paper argues that large technology platforms may qualify as critical infrastructure. Assuming this is the case, the author reviews reasonable industry “good practices” for such companies working with the government to formalize this status.

November 2019

Digital Tightrope: Balancing Innovation and Consumer Protection in the Data-Driven Economy

As the recognition of the value of data in the global economy has steadily risen, so has public interest in how data is owned, transferred, and utilized. This paper explores the delicate regulatory balance between protecting consumer welfare and supporting digital innovation.

October 2019

Pipe Dream: Challenges With Data Portability in India

Proposed legislation in India would grant people a “right to data portability” (RDP), allowing them to retrieve their personal data from data controllers and transfer it to others. This paper analyzes the legally nuanced pros and cons of RDP to determine if it has a net benefit.

September 2019

It’s A Matter of Trust: Exploring Data Fiduciaries in India

An active debate about regulations governing data privacy and data protection that the rest of the world should pay attention to is taking place in India. This paper explores part of that debate — the concept of treating data platforms as ‘fiduciaries’ within the context of Indian law.

September 2019

Let It Flow: Effects of Data Localization Regulations on Small Businesses

How might “data localization” regulations — restrictions on data flow across international borders — affect small business success? This research paper analyzes the challenges and opportunities facing small businesses in India due to such regulation.

September 2019

Data Minors: Challenges With Digital Age Verification

To minimize online risks to children, age-verification systems should be deployed on digital platforms. Our new paper shows all such systems have both pros and cons, and operate differently on different types of platforms and in different countries.

August 2019

An Overview of Data Governance in the Biomedical Economy

How do we develop new tools for governing the massive transformation and expansion of the digital economy? Our white paper explores how the concept of fiduciaries in the medical community might be applied to digital businesses and platforms.

June 2019

Seven Costs of Data Regulation Uncertainty

A patchwork of data protection and privacy regulations across the globe creates uncertainty and innumerable costs for businesses.

January 2019

Storm on the Horizon: How the U.S. CLOUD Act May Interact with Foreign Access to Evidence and Data Localization Laws

The U.S. Clarifying Legal Overseas Use of Data Act also known as the CLOUD Act, was enacted in March 2018…

November 2018

Los Datos como Factores de Eficiencia Económica

El Reglamento General de Protección de Datos (RGPD) entró en vigencia el 25 de mayo de 2018. La regulación busca proteger los datos “desde el diseño y por defecto”, por lo que las empresas deben manejar los datos de acuerdo con un conjunto de principios.

November 2018

Data as a Driver of Economic Efficiency

GDPR became enforceable on May 25, 2018. The regulation aims to protect data by ‘design and default,’ whereby firms must handle data according to a set of principles.

October 2018

GDPR and the Privacy Shake-Up

Time to abandon zero-sum models and shift to positive-sum thinking

October 2018

Acceso a Los Datos,Desafios y Potentcial

Actualmente, muchos países están discutiendo la forma en la cual los datos pueden generar valor público y privado.

October 2018

GDPR and the Privacy Shake-Up(ES)

Con la fecha de implementación de la GDPR acercándose rápidamente, está claro que esta nueva regulación europea de privacidad ha estado sacudiendo a los negocios…

October 2018

Data Protection Law: How It All Got Started

As data professionals, we tend to get trapped in the vicious cycle of “what comes next” and often do not take the time to understand the past.