Protecting the weaker parties in the platform economy

Author/s Guido Smorto
Publishing Year 2018 Issue 2018/158
Language Italian Pages 21 P. 423-443 File size 266 KB
DOI 10.3280/GDL2018-158008
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In these last years entirely new business models have emerged in recent years, whereby online platforms use digital technologies to connect distinct groups of users in order to facilitate transactions for the exchange of assets and services. In front of this dramatic shift in business organisation, forms of employment and market structure, widespread calls for a more "levelled playing field" makes a strong argument for deregulating many economic sectors and delegating regulatory responsibility to the platforms. Responses to these conclusions only focus on employment issues, whilst a more general analysis of bargaining power in the platform economy is still lacking. This essay calls into question these conclusions and offers some critical reflection on disparities of bargaining power between digital platforms and their users, whether providers (employees or independent contractors) or customers. It demon-strates that platforms make frequent use of boilerplate, architecture and algorithms to leverage their power over users and presents some brief recommendations.

Keywords: Platform economy; Sharing economy; Gig economy; Consumer protection; Bar-gaining power; Standard form contracts.

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Guido Smorto, La tutela del contraente debole nella platform economy in "GIORNALE DI DIRITTO DEL LAVORO E DI RELAZIONI INDUSTRIALI " 158/2018, pp 423-443, DOI: 10.3280/GDL2018-158008