Research summary

Open source software

My early research was about the industrial organisation of the Internet, in particular software development and intermediaries in two-sided markets (Gaudeul & Jullien, 2007)

  • I studied the marketing of software on the Internet (Gaudeul, 2010), and
  • made a case study of the development of the LaTeX typesetting software (Gaudeul 2007).
  • This was followed by a theory paper on how open-source software competes with proprietary alternatives (Gaudeul, 2009).

Consumer choice

Later on, I focused on why it is often difficult to compare products made by different firms.

  • In Gaudeul & Sugden (2012) we show that competition should lead firms to standardize their offers so they are comparable. This differs from existing literature that showed consumer confusion could be a result of the competitive process.
  • In Crosetto & Gaudeul (2016) we introduced an economic measure of the strength of the attraction effect. This differs from the existing literature which is mainly from marketing and focuses not on measuring the attraction effect but on showing it exists.
  • In Crosetto & Gaudeul (2017), we use this measure to parameter a market experiment to test Gaudeul & Sugden (2012). We show the theory fails if firms are able to collude. That collusion takes the original form of NOT adopting the same standards. Most collusion models focus merely on price collusion, rather than collusion in the design of products.
  • This work got me involved in the study of context effects, and I presently pursue this strand of research with Paolo Crosetto by studying their dynamics over time in the choice process. Our paper is R&R at Management Science (

Online social networks

Another strand of research is about online social network formation.

  • In Gaudeul & Giannetti (2013) we show that reciprocation (such as reciprocating interest in someone else’s profile or contributions if they show interest in yours) plays a significant role in the building of a social media audience. This differs from existing literature that focuses mainly on media content production as a driver of audience.
  • In Gaudeul & Giannetti (2017), we show that social media producers also reveal private information in order to build their audience. This establishes trust with others and thus more productive links. This differs from existing literature on privacy that sees private information as something to be hidden, rather than something to be revealed.
  • I furthered the study of privacy in Frik & Gaudeul (2020) where we introduced an incentivized measure of the value of privacy by exposing privacy to the risk, rather than the certainty, of revelation. This gives out more realistic measures than other methods.

Nudges and advising

A later strand of research is about how to influence and help decision-making.

  • In Gaudeul & Kaczmarek (2019), we look at nudges and prove the existence of a selection effect whereby those who do something under the influence of a nudge are less motivated than those who do the same thing on their own. We use drop-out from our experiment as a measure of motivation. This work establishes a well-known intuition that was difficult to prove because of a lack of incentivized measures of motivation to do something.
  • I pursue presently this line of research by considering robo-advising for stock trading (project with Caterina Giannetti) and the influence of moral considerations in the decisions of managers (with Gangl, Kirchkamp and Kulke). I also work with a team at the INRAE led by Sabrina Teyssier to explore the drivers of ethical food consumption.