My main area of research is the economics of networks and how this field of economics can be connected with research using social network analysis. The idea is that people don’t make their consumption decisions independently of the people they know, but that they take decisions of their social network into account when choosing to buy or adopt a certain product. In my case, this decision is the choice of a cellular network operator, but the research has wider implications for other communications or network technologies.

The research is conducted using a variety of different data sources and statistical techniques – both more classical statistical techniques and techniques that have been specifically developed for network data. My most recent research uses electronic data from mobile phone companies to directly take social networks of consumers into account. This is particularly interesting, because this unique data allows to answer questions that have scarcely been tackled by research before and poses additional challenges when working with very large datasets. Due to the time-series character of the data, it is for example possible to trace the adoption of new products across social networks. Besides for economics, the research is highly relevant for marketing in markets with direct interaction between consumers (mobile telecommunications, instant messaging, social networking software etc). And this is in fact what I did at Idiro Technolgies.

Other research interests are the economics of innovation (where I worked on two projects for the British Department of Trade and Industry), industrial economics and social network analysis more generally.



BIRKE, D. (2012): “Who you are or whom you know? Consumption interdependences in social networks”, Journal of Economics of Innovations and New Technology, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 281-299.   Download

BIRKE, D. and G. M. P. SWANN (2010): “Network effects, network structure and consumer interaction in mobile telecommunications in Europe and Asia”, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 76, No. 2, pp. 153–167.   Download

BIRKE, D. (2009): “The economics of networks – A survey of the empirical literature”, Journal of Economic Surveys, Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 762-793.   Download

BIRKE, D. (2008): “The economics of networks – A survey of the empirical literature”, Nottingham University Business School: Industrial Economics Division Occasional Paper Series, No. 2008-22   Download

BIRKE, D. (2007a): “Social networks and the economics of networks”, K. Frenken (ed.) “Evolutionary economics and economic geography”, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar     Abstract

BIRKE, D. (2007b): “Network effects in mobile telephony”, in L. Benzoni & P. Geoffron (eds.) “Competition and Regulation with Asymmetries in Mobile Markets“, Paris: Quantifica Publishing, 13-24 Abstract

BIRKE, D. (2006): “Diffusion over networks: Modelling the spread of innovations and customer churn over social networks”, C. Hochberger and R. Liskowsky (eds.) “Informatik 2006 – Informatik für Menschen, Band 2”, Bonn: Gesellschaft für Informatik, 480-488 Abstract

BIRKE, D. and G. M. P. SWANN (2006): “Network effects and the choice of mobile phone operator”, Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 16 (1-2), 65-84     Download

BIRKE, D. and G. M. P. SWANN (2005): “Social networks and choice of mobile phone operator”, Nottingham University Business School: Industrial Economics Division Occasional Paper Series, No. 2005-14

SWANN, G. M. P and D. BIRKE (2005): “How do creativity and design enhance business performance?”, Report for DTI Strategy Unit   Abstract   Download