Menu image/svg+xml

Conceptualizing the Role of the State in the Digital Platform Economy

Current contributions to the debate surrounding the politics of the platform economy produce two competing hypotheses: Some claim that the rise of global platform players such as Google, Facebook or Amazon fundamentally limits the capacity of states to intervene and shape their national economies. Others argue that the emergence of these economic actors and their recent developments precisely underscores the important role states play in regulating market activity.

The chapter argues that both perspectives are partly misleading, given that they focus almost exclusively on ex post forms of state activity. In order to counter these rather reductionist approaches, the chapter develops an analytical framework for the platform economy that allows for viewing state activity through an ex-ante lens and for contextualizing current state activity in the platform economy with the historical interconnectedness between state and market. Such a framework, the chapter puts forth, is necessary, as it furthers our understanding of the roles that states already play and might continue to play in the emerging platform economy.