To investigate the legal and policy challenges of the platform-mediated reorganization of labor and livelihood addressed in subprojects 1-3, a member of the research team will conduct two case studies during year 3 and 4 of the proposed project. Through extensive literature study, s/he will first examine how the expansion of platform labor affects US, German, and Dutch social security systems. Since this kind of labor is highly individualized and driven by independent contractors, it puts significant pressure on the remaining institutional forms of collectivity in each post-welfare society, from collective bargaining agreements to social safety nets. Here the main research questions will be:
- How can national labor and social security legislation be reformed to solve this problem?
- How can labor platforms contribute to a social security system that advances gender, racial, and class equity?
- Who is included and enabled to participate through these local platforms and who isn’t? How do these in/exclusions interact with broader gender, racial, and class inequalities?
The second case study investigates the challenges and opportunities of the sharing economy, which upends legal and regulatory frameworks rooted in notions of individual ownership and liability, while blurring distinctions between commercial and noncommercial actors and ultimately reorganizing relations between civil society, the market, and the state. The main questions guiding this study are:
- To what extent can national and local regulations absorb digital transformations in modes of production and social reproduction propelled by the sharing economy?
- In what ways does the disruption introduced by sharing economy platforms shore up, rather than hinder, the public policies of local and national governments?