Regulating the platform economy

The transformative character of digital technologies has been becoming increasingly evident in recent times. New factors to consider have arisen, these ranging from the disruptive nature of the so-called platform (or sharing or gig) economy, to the unresolved issues of the influence of social media on political debates and behaviour and the uncertainty about emerging technologies and their potential benefits and risks. These developments seem to completely outpace regulators that 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 results so far.

This course analyses the regulatory challenges of the platform economy, with a particular emphasis on the urban context (with Uber, Airbnb, delivery services etc.). We will use a regulatory analysis perspective to explore regulatory challenges associated with the platform economy and compare regulatory responses in a cross-national perspective. To this end, we will engage with theoretical concepts and research design issues related to comparative and single-country (causal) case studies. 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.


  • Kai Wegrich , Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy