“… the expansion of digital platforms is also reshaping the relationships between customers, workers, and employers. Providing a matching service and linking labour demand with its supply, platforms are thus deeply transforming ‘traditional’ business models.”
The platform economy is an emerging and strategic domain of activities in terms of application of digital technologies, business investment and creation of new jobs.
First, digital platforms are changing the structure of the economy and the nature of labour, especially by the erosion of formal rules governing the place and timing of work and the boundary between working and non-working activities. On the one hand the rise of the “platform” or “gig” economy provides new employment opportunities, on the other hand researchers and trade unions have also highlighted some major negative trends related to the rise of platforms, mostly in terms of social and labour protections.
Secondly, the expansion of digital platforms is also reshaping the relationships between customers, workers, and employers. Providing a matching service and linking labour demand with its supply, platforms are thus deeply transforming “traditional” business models.
Finally, labour platforms are also having a huge impact on urban governance and urban spaces, as the latter are expected to be more and more flexible and malleable according to the needs of the flows of goods and information. Urban spaces are hence re-designed by new and heterogeneous practices of crossing and boarding.
All of these aspects of the gig economy are at the heart of the project PLUS. Investigating the platform economy through a ground-breaking and trans-urban approach, PLUS explores the impact of the platform economy on work, welfare, social protection and urban governance.
The PLUS project is thus for Paris 13 and the CEPN (the Centre of Economics of the University Paris Nord) a great opportunity to further develop its research program on the global evolutions of capitalism, and more specifically on social and economic inequalities, on the dynamics of financialization and globalisation, on the evolution of employment conditions, as well as on corporate governance and management processes (global value chains, organisations’ social responsibility and strategic forecasting).
From a theoretical point of view, the CEPN will give to the PLUS project a significant contribution both in the set-up of theoretical framework on the platform economy and the evolution of business models, and in the understanding of how platforms are changing labour processes, contractual status, working conditions and urban regulation. The research team based at CEPN will also conduct the qualitative fieldwork in the city case of Paris through semi-structured interviews (with workers and stakeholders), focus groups and the collection and the analysis of statistics secondary data on the four platforms (Airbnb, Uber, Helpling and Deliveroo). The team will be also involved in the setting up of the training activities and in the support of the pilot case in Paris. The main objective of the research will be to shed light on how the growth of the platform economy is changing the local labour market dynamics and influencing the developments of the metropolis of Paris (especially in the context of implementation of the Grand Paris project).
— By Paris 13.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822638.The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.