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Going to the Dark Side: The Role of Non-Market Strategies in Shaping Regulation of Sharing Platforms

Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

The sharing economy has seen significant growth over the past decade, with the global value predicted to reach USD 600 billion by 2027, driven by various digital platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit. While supporters emphasize the positive aspects of sharing economy practices, such as increased employment opportunities, affordability, authenticity, and reduced environmental impact, critics also point to precarious economic conditions and exploitation for participants on the service supply side of sharing platforms such as drivers and freelancers. While the extant research has explored various aspects of sharing platforms including business model innovation, growth strategies and the like, there is a lack of scholarship on how sharing platform owners utilize non-market strategies to achieve their business goals. Non-market strategy, a concept introduced by economist Albert Hirschman, encompasses corporate actions directed at governmental, legal-regulatory, political, and social environments of business which contribute to the firm’s financial performance. Based on exploratory interviews followed by data collection in the field later this year, this research project will examine how state regulators, societal norms, and economic pressures influence the non-market strategies employed by sharing platform owners. The seminar will present and explore the research context, hypotheses and survey methodology.