What is the Data Catalyst Institute?

The Data Catalyst Institute (DCI) is a research organization focused on informing and improving global public policy and thoughtful discourse within our data-driven economy. DCI provides governments, academics, and industry partners with the latest market intelligence, expert working groups, regulatory analyses, and original research.

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. Read More

Research Reports

October 12, 2022

Insights

Mobile Signal Jamming: Reclaiming Zones of Privacy in Our “Always On” World

Since the U.S.’ adoption of signal jamming prohibitions, society has changed so dramatically. Congress and the FCC should revisit its signal jamming rules to allow for a limited right to block mobile signals at least within specific private areas at specific times.

By Jonathan Askin

The New State of Data Privacy: Q&A With Blake Hall, Founder & CEO of ID.me

We discuss with Blake Hall, Founder & CEO at Id.me, the company’s contributions to the Privacy Tech landscape and perspectives on prospective U.S. federal privacy legislation.

By Data Catalyst Institute

Sticker Shock: While Food Delivery Companies Fight Fee Caps, Indie Restaurants Fight Delivery Companies – Will Anyone Win?

DCI Retail Fellow Hitha Herzog discusses whether or not a government-imposed food delivery fee cap in New York City will meet the intended goal of helping independent restaurants.

By Hitha Herzog

From User Exploitation to Data Coops: The Never-Ending Battle for Control of Users and the Online, and Offline, Experience

Digital technology is finally able to give control of the Internet to the users and workers. However, history suggests user/worker-controlled networks will lose to the centralized server-spoke model of the Silicon-Valley data brokers.

By Jonathan Askin

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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

Small Business Leaders Oppose Anti-Tech Legislation That Will Hurt Their Sales

Small business leaders who are likely voters report that digital technologies are important to their businesses and many are opposed to “anti-tech” legislation that would hurt their ability to use such digital tools and services.

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

Small Business Sellers Value Online Tools and Marketplaces

This new research describes how small business sellers value online marketplaces (and their integrated tools and services), in combination with other sales channels like web-based stores.

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.

May 2022

Congress Isn’t Aligned with Small Business Priorities

Congress is pursuing legislation in the middle of economic turmoil that small businesses do not want. Only 7% of SMB leaders consider “increasing regulations on large tech companies” a top business concern right now.

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

Digital Tools Continue To Unlock Opportunities For U.S. Small Businesses

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, this report shows that digital tools continue to be an integral part of U.S. small business operations, increasing their agility, resiliency, and ability to adapt to new challenges. Published by the Connected Commerce Council.

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

Importance of Targeted Digital Ads To EU Small Businesses Now and During 2022

This survey ascertained the degree to which EU-based small businesses use targeted digital advertising and the importance of that to their businesses. Published by the Connected Commerce Council.

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.