Regulating the Platform Economy: How to Protect Workers While Promoting Innovation
Intereconomics - Vol. 52, November/December 2017
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The rise of the platform economy has been accompanied by an array of regulatory challenges facing policymakers, ranging from taxation to competition policy to worker protection. Furthermore, many basic aspects of the platform economy are unclear, such as its size, the number of workers who take part in it and, indeed, its very definition. What types of regulation are necessary to ensure that the benefits of the platform economy are maximised for all Europeans? How can the productivity gains associated with the platform economy be distributed throughout society? Perhaps most importantly, how can policymakers support innovation while also protecting consumers, workers and communities?
Additional Highlights from the Current Issue
The phenomenon of virtual currencies has to be distinguished from the underlying distributed ledger technologies. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies need to be subject to strict financial regulation and supervision to ensure investor protection. At the same time, distributed ledger technologies will shape the future of the financial services in many respects. Volker Brühl illustrates the disruptive potential of these technologies for selected financial products and processes.
In October 2017, Amazon, the world's fourth-largest company, received 238 proposals from North American cities aiming to become the site of its second corporate headquarters, a truly transformative investment for any city. Joseph Parilla discusses why American cities continue to compete with one another to see which one can provide the greatest incentives to businesses via so-called economic development tools â€“ despite the fact that economists are highly sceptical of their effectiveness.
Jan Drahokoupil and Agnieszka Piasna describe how work on platforms is part of a wider trend towards the increasing fragmentation of work. It is a signal of increasing job instability and is often fuelled by insufficient income from one job to cover the cost of living. The question facing policymakers is whether the developing regulatory environment will reflect the narrow interests of some businesses or a balance of interests among all stakeholders.
Quote of the Month
(W)e must proceed in a way that allows citizens, in their multiple roles as workers and consumers, to participate in shaping the future, not just allowing it to happen to them. It is not a matter of robots coming, but rather one of how to direct the evolution of platforms and the development and deployment of intelligent tools and systems.
from John Zysman and Martin Kenney's Forum article Intelligent Tools and Digital Platforms: Implications for Work and Employment