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Governing Delivery Platform Companies

Full title

Governing Delivery Platform Companies (GDPC)

Project description

GDPC examines the interaction between platform companies, local authorities, workers, and households to understand the multilevel governance of delivery platforms. With both national and international companies operating in the market, the expansion of global platform capitalism raises concerns and critique. To counter a perceived erosion of local authority, various countries, particularly in Europe, have introduced anti-trust legislation against such BigTech companies. Yet such national regulatory initiatives have not dulled the market ambitions of global platform companies even as demand patterns change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These platforms lead to new social challenges, new uses of urban space, new forms of labour precarity, and new governance constraints. Basing its fieldwork on three urban spaces in the Netherlands – the Hague, Amsterdam, and Leiden – GDPC studies three key stakeholders to answer how the governance of delivery platform companies transpires. (1) We interview platform workers (who are largely migrant workers) to understand their working experience, perceptions of opportunity and precarity, and ways of negotiating their labour and legal contracts. (2) We interview employers and managers of delivery platform companies and companies that subcontract deliver to them to understand the daily management of delivery and hiring. (3) We interview municipal, regional, and national government officials to understand how they attempt to regulate these companies and their impact on urban space, services, and residents. Together, this knowledge will contribute to studies of global platform capitalism and labour migration, the changing role of the state vis-a-vis the gig economy, and the changing role of local governments in the decentred management and employment schemes of global food delivery platforms.

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