SG - Promises & Practice

Delve into the world of the platform economy, and explore how it works out so far. To what extent have the high expectations been met in practice?

Organised by Studium Generale

Tue 30 March 2021 20:00 to 22:00

Venue Online

About lecture series The Platform Economy

Did you ever order food via Deliveroo, book an accommodation through Airbnb, arrange your transport via Uber, or order a present on Bol.com? You are probably familiar with the platform economy, even if you don’t realize it. Online platforms facilitating the exchange of services and goods have been on the rise over the last years, and currently experience a further impetus in the context of the corona crisis.

The emergence of the platform economy has originally been heralded as a way to contribute to all kinds of favourable outcomes, ranging from economic development and innovation, to emancipation, equality and sustainability. But where do we stand now, and where will it take us? This series explores the societal implications of the platform economy, by analysing the developments and challenges so far, and forecasting and discussing future directions this phenomenon might take. What kind of effects have been hypothesized, and to what extent have they crystallized in practice? Has the platform economy proved to be system changing, or rather a digitalization and even strengthening of the status quo? To what degree can it live up to its promises, and what are decisive factors in this?

Promises & Practice

The emergence of the platform economy was accompanied by a wide range of euphoric promises; it would improve productivity, reduce costs, and promote innovation and economic development. Moreover, it would enhance labour market flexibility and accessibility, contributing to the emancipation and empowerment of workers. For instance, isn’t it ideal to be able to determine when and how much you work? However, more critical analyses have been gaining attention, challenging these outcomes and questioning the way platforms affect the distribution of power and income.

In this first lecture of the series, Bas ter Weel introduces us into the world of the platform economy, sketching its contours and dynamics, and exploring how it works out so far. To what extent have the high expectations been met in practice? How does the platform economy manifest itself; what has it (not) brought us? Who are actually benefitting from the platform economy, and who are bearing the costs?

About Bas ter Weel

Prof. dr. Bas ter Weel
Prof. dr. Bas ter Weel

Prof. dr. Bas ter Weel is managing director of SEO Amsterdam Economics and a professor of economics at the University of Amsterdam. His expertise lies in the field of labour market dynamics, social security, pensions, health care and education, but he has also contributed to the field of innovation and technology, international relations, and financial markets. His area of work includes research of new developments, such as (social) innovation and the influence of IT and robotization on the future of work, as well as policy evaluations, for instance of entrepreneurship regulations.

Prof. dr. Ter Weel studied Economics at the University of Maastricht and obtained his PhD at the same university, with his dissertation The Computerization of the Labour Market. After that, he worked at the University of Maastricht, the Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), and the CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis. In addition to his work at SEO and the University of Amsterdam, Prof. dr. Ter Weel holds a number of other positions, including Crown-appointed member of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER), board member of the Royal Netherlands Economics Association, and co-editor of De Economist. Additionally, he is a research fellow at the Tinbergen Institute, the IZA (Bonn), the ROA and NSI (Maastricht), and SKOPE (Oxford). As vice-president of the SER committee Platform economy and work, Prof. dr. Ter Weel contributed to the exploratory study How does the platform economy work? (SER, 2020).