Jan 21, 2021.

In recent years, the platform economy has been recognised by researchers and governments around the world for its potential to contribute to the sustainable development of society. Yet, platform economy cases such as Uber, Airbnb, and Deliveroo have created a huge controversy over their socioeconomic impact, while other alternative models have been associated with a new form of cooperativism. In parallel, the United Nations are advocating global sustainable development by promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), considering elements such as decent work, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and fostering innovation. In any case, the SDGs have been also criticised for the lack of digital perspective. This dataset draws from two 2020 European projects’ (DECODE and PLUS) data collections and presents the possibility to compare different platform economy models and their connections with the SDGs.

Keywords: platform economy; sustainability; SDGs


Full publication available here.

Oct 15, 2020.

The rise of the platform economy has had enormous influence on the world of work in the recent decade. Despite its often relatively small size in the overall labour market, its paradigms have served as inspiration or laboratories of experimentation for the transformation of workplaces and management in various industries. It is therefore important to describe and contextualize the logics of platform labour, and the ways workers deal with these circumstances. To provide a thorough account of this phenomenon, it is essential to interrogate both the technological and political features that permit it.


Full publication available here.

Oct 15, 2020.

The rapid growth of the debate around the crucial transformations that our economy is having through the development and public diffusion of digital technologies seems to have a consequence: the confusing multiplications of words and concepts regarding labour and the following difficulty in formulating univocal definitions. Thus, such ambiguity often impedes to focus the real extent that the impact of digital technologies is having on our society

In this article we want to frame a potential critical point of view on these transformations, focusing on some specific configurations they assumed: the platform business model and the so-called gig and sharing economy. We will start by scrutinizing the concept of platform. At first glance, platform is a business model allowing for the
creation of new market places for the exchange of labour power, resources and assets, but they are also responsible of reconfiguring working processes and labour relations towards an algorithm-based exploitation. Secondly, we will move towards sharing economy and gig economy, which represent emerging sectors that, on the other side, condense larger socio-economic transformations.

Our aim is to show how these concepts represent a contested terrain between long term innovations, digital technologies and labour struggles.


Full publication available here.


Oct 15, 2020.

It represents one of the first results of a collective knowledge production of two partners (Leuphana University of LüneburgUniversità di Bologna) in a European-wide research project on Platform Labour in Urban Spaces. The research aims not only to empirically examine the rise of the “gig economy” in European cities, which, overall, has been little studied and even less in comparison between European cities, but moreover to suggest as to how we can conceptualize this rise and the changing living and labour conditions in urban space within the context of an emerging platform urbanism.


Full publication available here.



Oct 1, 2020.

With this report, PLUS consortium wants to contribute to a large debate on the role of platform economy and on how to deal with labour transformations after Covid-19 outbreak.

Considering the ongoing very unpredictable situation, the observations contained in the report should be considered as explorative to further investigations. In any case, we would suggest to avoid framing Covid-19 outbreak in 2020 as outstanding event clearly dividing what occurred before from what will occur shortly after. Rather, one of the purposes of this report is to test if some of the hypothesis we produced during the first year and half of the project are still persuasive even after virus appearance.

At first sight it seems that Covid-19 pandemic highlights and, if anything, emphasizes very well some platforms characteristics we had already identified: the lack of social protections for platform workers, the becoming essential infrastructures of platforms, the digitalization of services, the changing nature of urban economies.


ISBN 9788854970311
DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/6471
License CC BY 4.0 International

Full publication available here.

For more details: Dr. Maurilio Pirone  (



Apr 23, 2020.

Laurent Baronian, from Universite Paris 13,  shares his contribution to the study of digital platforms published in the Journal of economic issues. In this case, the issue was to rely on capitalist digital platforms in order to place labour at the heart of the long debated firm-boundary problem.

Digital platforms turn traditional approaches of the firm, which relied on the wage relation to explain the major difference between firm and market, upside down and underline the advantages of coordination through organization over coordination through market.

This study aims to propose a definition of the firm able to integrate, besides the integrated firm, also hybrid forms such as networks of subcontractor/subcontracting firms as well as atypical forms such as digital platforms.

By reactivating the firm-boundary problem, this article suggests putting valorization by labor at the heart of the firm’s decisions concerning integration. It suggests therefore a general definition of the firm as a technoinstitutional center of capital valorization, provided that firms make profits by means of the appropriation of labor incorporated into their (productive, structural, intellectual) capital through institutional arrangements.

By stressing the relation of production between the owners of the means of production and the direct producers, the approach of the firm supported here should allow to cover the different existing models of the firm, from the classical firm to hybrid models, around which the boundary debate has revolved, to digital platforms.

Keywords: digital platforms, firm theory, boundaries of the firm, transaction cost economics, property rights theory, resource-based theory of the firm, hybrid models

Full publication available here.

For more details: Laurent Baronian (


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