Submission to the Opportunities for Personalised Transport Green Paper

Suzor, Nicolas P., Van Geelen, Tess, & Drinkuth, Katherina (2016) Submission to the Opportunities for Personalised Transport Green Paper.


In this submission, we consider the big-picture regulatory issues for the emerging 'peer economy'. We focus on discrete set of areas of potential market failure where government intervention may be necessary, and we consider what outcomes such regulation ought to seek to achieve. We make no claim about the current state of any existing industries in Queensland or the extent to which existing industries are meeting these goals. We also do not address industry-specific questions around safety or performance standards.

Peer economy systems raise at least two key structural issues that we suggest require explicit regulatory attention. First, the decentralisation of work can potentially be structured in a way that drives down the cost of labour and the protections that are granted to employees through industrial relations policy. Second, the decentralisation of quality control and selection mechanisms has raised serious concerns about discrimination in peer economy networks. The deployment of ratings systems to facilitate trust in anonymous networks could, if not appropriately managed, increase systemic discrimination and bias against both providers and consumers of services. The decentralisation of work also poses challenges for current approaches to ensuring that people with disabilities and special needs are adequately served by peer economy systems.

We suggest that effective responsive models of regulation for the peer economy can likely be developed in a way that encourages self-regulation against a clearly articulated set of public interest outcomes. We think that there are substantial potential efficiency gains and benefits for both workers and consumers in adopting models of regulation that enable firms to adopt different approaches to meeting the standards that are necessary to promote the public interest. In order to develop new models of regulation that can effectively serve the public interest, however, we suggest that public regulators must:

  • Develop effective obligations of public accountability and transparency for peer economy platforms to enable public scrutiny;

  • Create new schemes that protect workers from exploitation and insecurity, with particular reference to promoting autonomy, fair dealing, income security, collective bargaining, and access to dispute resolution processes;

  • Introduce and enforce network-level obligations to actively monitor and address systemic discrimination and ensure that persons with disabilities are equally served.

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ID Code: 96262
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: sharing economy, peer economy, regulation, algorithms, labour
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Digital Media Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Copyright Statement: CC BY 4.0
Deposited On: 19 Jun 2016 23:55
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2016 22:36

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