Chapter 2 The business models of labour platforms: Creating an uncertain future
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This chapter addresses the transformatory potential of labour platforms by investigating their economic role and business strategies. It distinguishes between the intermediary role of labour platforms, which has specific implications as far as the market for labour is concerned, and the infrastructure role. These roles are associated with three distinct business models: regulatory arbitrage; an intermediation business relying on network effects; and a surveillance business associated with infrastructural power. In practice, labour platforms pursue regulatory arbitrage and the intermediation model. Turning either of them into a successful business strategy is fraught with difficulties. While the viability of the former is contingent on the regulatory response, the viability of the business of matching needs to be considered together with the costs of sustaining the network effects. These are relatively high in the case of local platforms, making it challenging to transform them into viable business models.

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