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Paul Jonker-Hoffrén and Giedo Jansen

Representation of platform workers in politics and labour market relations is a multifaceted problem. On the one hand platform work is complicated in policymaking, owing to the grey areas in labour and competition law. On the other hand, representation of platform workers in the political arena and labour market relations by political parties and labour unions is an underdeveloped and understudied issue. In this chapter we argue that representation of platform workers is a function of both demand for and supply of representation. We present a framework, based on insider-outsider theory, through which representation can be studied, which we illustrate with the case of Finnish and Dutch election programmes. We reiterate that the study of platform work requires comparative, multidisciplinary research, with a particular need for knowledge on the (intersectional) representation demands of platform workers themselves.

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Giedo Jansen and Roderick Sluiter

This chapter investigates membership of interest organizations through the lens of precarious self-employment. First, we aim to identity different ‘types’ of self-employment based on their degree of precariousness. Based on a Latent Class Analysis we construct a four-category typology of solo self-employment (i.e., secure traditional / precarity-prone traditional / secure professional / precarity-prone professional). Second, we study whether these different types of self-employed workers have diverging expectations of interest organizations, and/or diverging membership patterns. We use insider-outsider theory to formulate hypotheses on whether precarity-prone self-employed relative to more secure self-employed are organized differently – if they are organized at all. The hypotheses are tested using survey data from the Netherlands. We conclude that the most notable group of self-employed are the precarity-prone professionals, who are not only most likely to deviate from traditional patterns of interest representations, but also most willing to join a trade union.

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Jeroen Meijerink, Giedo Jansen and Victoria Daskalova

Online labour platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo and Upwork create or complicate a number of wicked problems for policy-makers, companies, workers, and society as a whole. The opportunities and challenge that these platforms create - i.e. referred to as platform economy puzzles in this edited volume - are far from monodisciplinary in nature. This calls for a multidisciplinary study into the drivers and nature of the puzzles associated with platform-enabled gig work and the implications (both desired and undesired) for societies, labour markets, public policy organisations and individuals. Accordingly, this book embarks on a perilous task by aiming to offer a multidisciplinary perspective on platform-enabled gig work and the implications (both intended as well as unintended) this has for societies, labour markets, public policy organisations and individuals.

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Giedo Jansen, Victoria Daskalova and Jeroen Meijerink

The chapters included in this edited volume shed light on three platform economy puzzles: (1) non-standard, multiparty working relationships and precarious working conditions, (2) the use of algorithmic management practices, and (3) the (excessive) capture of surplus value by platform firms. In doing so, each chapter discusses the nature of, and solution to, one of these puzzles from a distinct disciplinary perspective. The current chapter synthesizes these insights and discusses avenues for interdisciplinary research into the opportunity and challenges associated with platform-enabled gig work. It finalizes with methodological considerations for future research.

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Platform Economy Puzzles

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Gig Work

Edited by Jeroen Meijerink, Giedo Jansen and Victoria Daskalova

Searching for paid tasks via digital labour platforms, such as Uber, Deliveroo and Fiverr, has become a global phenomenon and the regular source of income for millions of people. In the advent of digital labour platforms, this insightful book sheds new light on familiar questions about tensions between competition and cooperation, short-term gains and long-term success, and private benefits and public costs. Drawing on a wealth of knowledge from a range of disciplines, including law, management, psychology, economics, sociology and geography, it pieces together a nuanced picture of the societal challenges posed by the platform economy.