UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Governing digital platforms in middle income countries

09 November 2020, 4:00 pm–5:30 pm


Join us for this talk as part of the IIPP Seminar Series, as Simon Roberts (University of Johannesburg) discusses in his upcoming working paper on digital platforms in middle-income countries.

This event is free.

Event Information

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IIPP Comms

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This seminar addresses the implications of digital platforms for middle-income countries seeking to build advanced productive capabilities. First, we distinguish the challenges relating to technological change and industrial development typically faced by these countries. Second, we consider the value creation opportunities offered by different types of digital platforms. Third, we advance a policy framework for middle-income countries to engage with these challenges and opportunities effectively. In achieving these goals, the importance of understanding where and how digital platforms are value-creating and where they are value extracting has been widely stressed. This requires taking account of differences in value creation and extraction dynamics across different types of digital platforms and the challenges faced by countries seeking to escape from what can be termed a ‘middle-income technology trap’. The issues are explored with specific reference to South Africa. 

Simon Roberts will discuss his upcoming working paper, digital platforms in middle-income countries. This talk will be chaired by IIPP’s Kate Roll with a discussion from Rainer Kattel, IIPP Deputy Director. Followed by Q&A from the audience.

Background material linked to this seminar

Andreoni, A. & Roberts, S. (2020). Governing data and digital platforms in middle income countries: regulations, competition and industrial policies, with sectoral case studies from South Africa. Digital Pathways at Oxford Paper Series; no. 5. Oxford, United Kingdom

Read more about the IIPP Seminar Series 2020-21

About the Speaker

Simon Roberts

Professor at Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development, University of Johannesburg

Simon Roberts is a professor of economics at the University of Johannesburg, where he founded the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development. He has worked extensively on issues of competition policy, industrial development, trade and global value chains in developing countries, advising governments, competition authorities and regulators especially in countries in Southern and East Africa. Simon has been an economics director at the UK Competition and Markets Authority and the Chief Economist and Manager of the Policy & Research Division at the Competition Commission of South Africa. Simon has been closely involved in the development of competition law in South Africa from the establishment of the authorities and has testified as an expert witness in a number of major cases. More about Simon Roberts