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The Politics of Platform Cooperativism Understanding Political and Legislative Drivers and Obstacles for Platform Cooperativism in the USA, Germany, and France

Governments around the world increasingly make use of public policy to shape transactions and interactions in the digital economy. How these policies affect platform cooperatives, however, remains under researched. Based on expert interviews and a comparative policy analysis, the report identifies political and legislative drivers and obstacles for platform cooperatives in the ‘most different’ market economies of the United States, Germany, and France. By comparing policymaking processes across such heterogeneous contexts, the report not only increases our understanding of the obstacles that platform cooperatives face in different circumstances, but also sketches out possible ways of overcoming them.

In Germany, the fine print of many of the country’s public loan programs makes it difficult to establish platforms under democratic ownership. In France, the overarching policy framework of the social and solidarity economy causes platform cooperatives to act primarily as social enterprises that work for the common good, not as companies that compete with the incumbent platform operators. In the USA, the government's budgetary and fiscal policies inhibit democratization processes in the platform economy. Yet, at the same time, cooperative law, which allows for great flexibility in some of the country’s states, also creates innovative possibilities for democratic integration.

By investigating the interplay between policy and cooperative activity in the digital economy in this fashion, the report provides insights on the extent to which differences across political systems create particular development trajectories for democratic ownership in the platform economy. 

Download the report (PDF, 2,3 MB)