On-demand economy

The rise of the on-demand (aka gig, sharing, collaborative economy, crowd work, etc., etc.) is attracting attention from all quarters. And everyone is wondering: how important is it? Who are the on-demand workers and how does their work differ from others? Will the on-demand economy turn us all into self-employed workers? What stance should policy-makers take?

These are some of the questions a team of researchers is investigating at CEPS. The approach we are taking is innovative and pragmatic, as it relies on web-crawling through individual e-platforms hosted on the internet. The analysis of specific cases, such as CoContest.com and ListMinut.be reveals that these ‘gigs’ do not at the present time substitute for a full-time job nor will they any time in the future, as long as platforms remain small. It also shows that a distinction needs to be drawn between virtual platforms, where a true globalisation of work is produced by the new technology, and the platforms for locally provided services.

It is certain that the growth of the platform economy constitutes a great opportunity to better use underutilised assets. These opportunities, however, are accompanied by serious regulatory challenges in a range of areas including consumer protection, provision of social security and taxation. 

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