Daniels faculty member Young Kwark has become an expert on the impacts of online platforms, including Airbnb and Amazon

Spend a few minutes scrolling Airbnb and you’ll find a lot of things that impact rental prices: the size of the place, amenities, proximity to bars and restaurants. But Daniels College of Business faculty member Young Kwark found there’s another, sustainable and convenient factor that’s making properties more desirable.

Kwark, an assistant professor in the Daniels Department of Business Information and Analytics, used her most recent research paper to explore the impact that bike-sharing services, like CITI bike in New York City, have on how well a rental home performs, specifically from Airbnb. That paper is titled “Spillover in Sharing Economies: Network Effect of Bike-sharing Services on Home-sharing Performance.”

Her research found that the closer a bike share is to an Airbnb, the more money that property is likely to rake in—especially in areas that aren’t as accessible by bus or train.

“We found that one sharing platform can actually improve the other sharing platform’s profitability,” she said.

This piece of research fits in seamlessly with Kwark’s focus on platforms, building on recent research she’s done on Amazon. Two of her papers focus on the legal and ethical implications of crucial parts of Amazon’s business model: the reviews users leave, and the sale of Amazon-brand products. Kwark is also working on an additional paper that explores what Amazon does with personal data from people selling products in competition with Amazon-branded products on its marketplace. 

Kwark highlights her 2023 paper titled, “Online Platform’s Anti-trust Behaviors and Policy,” which was published by Information Systems Research, an FT50 premier journal.

In this paper, Kwark and fellow researchers examine how policymakers regulate anti-competitive behaviors of major online platforms, like Amazon. The research team found that proposed legislation designed to stop platforms from selling their own products in their own marketplace does not help sellers, as intended. This research was spurred by a 2019 investigation from the European Union into Amazon for “misusing its dual role” as both the marketplace for sellers and a platform to sell its own products. This is problematic because Amazon has access to the data of its competitors. This could mean that Amazon could alter its branded product pricing to undercut competition.

Kwark was part of a team that recently won at the 2024 Antitrust Writing Awards for this paper. The paper won in the academic articles category for general economics.

Through these pieces of research, Kwark is looking to inform policymakers on how they can both regulate and support global internet platforms. There’s an important balance to be struck there, she said.

“Our sharing economy goes hand in hand with these platforms,” she said. “We’re looking into [the impacts of] that and [hoping] regulation boosts them both.”