Business Power in Digital(ized) Capitalism: How Does Digitalization Affect the Power Resources, Political Preferences, and Lobbying Strategies of Firms?

Michael Kemmerling

Digitalization fundamentally restructures value creation in capitalist economies. Concepts such as surveillance, digital, or platform capitalism emphasize how data, digital technologies, and digital infrastructures increasingly shape economic and social activities. While an emerging literature in management and economics studies new digital(ized) business models, the implications for the political power of business remain understudied. By identifying an alliance between consumers and platforms against platform regulation, existing studies narrowly focus on digital platform firms but neglect non-digital firms and non-platform-based business models. Further, the literature all but ignores the related field of lobbying and interest group studies. To broaden and complement the platform power debate, this cumulative dissertation asks how digitalization affects the power resources, political preferences, and lobbying strategies of business. The first article introduces the concept of digital power resources (DPR) to measure business power across all economic sectors. The second focuses on the preferences of platform-dependent businesses and investigates the formation of business lobbying coalitions in platform capitalism. Finally, the third paper shows that the success of platforms’ outside lobbying strategies depends on whether a policy debate is fragmented across borders (EU) or unified (US). The dissertation combines comparative case studies and quantitative methods, including text as data approaches.

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