Computing and Economics

Economic platforms, such as electronic markets, crowdsourcing markets, or social networks, are increasingly important in today’s globalized world. This is a field where a cooperation between computer scientists and economists leads to lots of synergies and can thus be particularly fruitful.

We both analyze and design major systems and applications, taking an engineering approach to fix broken platforms or to create new ones. Our research takes into account computational, economic and behavioral constraints. This interdisciplinary research focus has a high potential for impact on practice. In Computing and Economics, all four departments of the Faculty are engaged, bringing together different approaches and specializations.

Research projects

Exemplary project: Pricing in Crowdsourcing Markets (A. Bernstein, S. Seuken)

Crowdsourcing markets like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk have grown immensely in recent years. Yet, the allocation and pricing of workers in these markets is still very simple, as most markets only offer a fixed-priced wage per task. These simple market mechanisms are especially problematic for time-constrained applications such as real-time interactive systems or complex workflows, where both the availability and readiness of capable workers cannot be guaranteed with these limited mechanisms. To address the shortcomings of existing mechanisms, we have introduced Crowd-Manager, a framework for the combinatorial allocation and pricing of crowdsourcing tasks under budget, completion time, and quality constraints.

Selected research projects

Connections to courses

Computing and Economics addresses students who are interested in both the economic side (incentives, efficiency, fairness, etc.) as well as the computational side (complexity, algorithms, optimization, etc.) of the design and analysis of socio-economic systems. Students who focus on this area get the substantial background to work for any company where economic and computational aspects are important (e.g., Doodle, IBM, etc.), and they will be particularly well-prepared to work for e-commerce companies (e.g., eBay, Amazon, etc.), to work for social networking companies (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.), or to work in the online advertising sector (e.g., at Google or Microsoft). Focusing on this area is possible for all students with a good foundation in microeconomics, game theory, algorithms, and the foundations of computing. The more specialized courses that relate to Computing and Economics are mainly taught in the information systems specialization of the Department of Informatics, and in the core elective areas VWL 2 (microeconomics) and BWL 6, on the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels. The following list provides examples of courses particularly related to Computing and Economics

List of courses

More detailed information on each module can be found by copying the 8-digit code into the search field of the University’s course catalogue.

Course catalogue

Bachelor's level

Economics and Computation BINF4225
Contract and Information Economics BOEC0249
Business Network Analysis and Applications MINF4533
Seminar: Internet Economics BINFS138
Seminar: Collective Intelligence, Human Computation, and Crowdsourcing BINFS142
Seminar: Advanced Topics in Economics and Computation BINFS145
Seminar: Marketing and Social Networks BOEC0326
Quantitative Market Research BOEC0320
Linear Programming BOEC0240

Master's level

Economics and Computation BINF4225 
Auction Theory and Mechanism Design MOEC016
Social and Economic Foundations of Information Systems MINF4208
Business Network Analysis and Applications MINF4533
Protocols for Multimedia Communications MINF4209
Seminar: Internet Economics MINFS538
Collective Intelligence, Human Computation, and Crowdsourcing MINFS542
Seminar: Advanced Topics in Economics and Computation MINFS545
Microeconomic Theory of the Firm MOEC0203
Experimental Economics MOEC0205
Market Research: Multivariate Methods MOEC0151
Computational Economics and Finance MFOEC167
Social Choice Theory MOEC0353

Faculty members involved

The following Faculty members research and/or teach in Computing and Economics.

Department of Banking and Finance (IBF)

Prof. Dr. Marc Chesney
Prof. Dr. Jean-Charles Rochet