I personally do not use seed starting mixes. When I have, I suffer damping off unless I use some sort of fungicide drench-- another product to buy.
I have personally touted the benefits of using a local soil packaged as topsoil by Wal-mart and labeled Waupaca brand topsoil. This year I used a mix of spaghum peat moss, sandy loam, and compost. I did not have damping off this year either.
I think organic gardeners will be interested in this outtake from YouTube as it backs up my thoughts on the matter as well.
You probably will not see any studies on this as those studies are generally done with funds from some corporation trying to sell you something.