08.13.19 — In the past decade, the emergence of platformbased systems (PBS) has given rise to fast-growing companies like Uber and AirBnB that have not only disrupted traditional markets in multiple industry sectors, but also are increasingly becoming an integrated part of national infrastructure systems. For example, ride sharing has led to lower wages and increased congestion, and peer-to-peer lodging has driven up rents and undermined the traditional character of neighborhoods as places of longer-term residency. Professors Rashmi Dyal-Chand ’94 and Hilary C. Robinson have been awarded a Northeastern University grant to examine the impact of PBSs and potential regulatory responses.

“While PBSs may potentially bring many societal benefits and increase economic welfare, they are fundamentally different from conventional markets and businesses, presenting new problems and unanticipated challenges for regulators, policymakers, users, providers and society as a whole,” said Dyal- Chand, who recently explored how urban businesses are faring in her new book, Colloborative Capitalism in American Cities: Reforming Urban Market Regulations.

“Research to date on PBSs has primarily focused on various dynamics within a single specific platform or context. However, the evolution of various layers in one platform, such as user behaviors, technologies, market designs and regulations, can affect layers in other platforms, instigating questions such as how certain design and policy decisions in one platform — for example, ride sharing — impacts another platform — for example, lodging,” said Robinson, who focused her MIT doctoral thesis on an “algorithmic labor market” by studying Uber drivers in Boston. The project will conduct pioneering work on this emerging concern, specifically modeling interdependencies across PBSs, assessing the impacts of these interdependencies on communities, and considering the implications for policy.

“Our goal is the establishment of regulatory frameworks that maximize the benefits and limit the detriments of this next generation of PBSs,” said Dyal-Chand.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.