The transformative character of digital technologies is becoming increasingly manifest in recent times. New business models using the “power of platforms” are fundamentally changing consumption patterns, transforming markets and having (unintended) consequences in core policy areas such as housing, transportation and labour. The early hopes and promises of the “shared economy” have given way to increasing concerns about the negative impact of platform businesses. Regulators seem to be outpaced: they are locked in architectures designed for the regulatory problems of the 20th century and equipped with tools that don’t match the new breed of actors and problems. At the same time, public regulators increasingly rely on digital technologies, such as big data and algorithms, for their own decision making – with similarly mixed blessings so far. This course analyses the regulatory challenges of the platform economy, putting particular emphasis on the urban context (Uber, Airbnb, delivery services etc.). We will explore regulatory challenges associated with the platform economy and compare regulatory responses in a cross-national perspective. We will also engage in topical debates about appropriate regulation of the platform economy.
This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.