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The politics of Uber: Infrastructural power in the United States and Europe

Valdez, J. (2022). The politics of Uber: Infrastructural power in the United States and Europe. Regulation and Governance, doi: 10.1111/rego.12456


Platform firms have been depicted as having structural and instrumental power and being able to prevail in regulatory battles. This paper, in contrast, documents how they have often adapted to regulations and provide different services across locales. I show that platform firms have a specific type of power, infrastructural power, that stems from their position of mediators across a variety of actors. This power, I argue, is shaped by pre-existing regulations and the firms’ strategic response, that I call “contentious compliance”: a double movement of adapting to existing regulations, while continuing to challenge them. I apply this framework to the expansion and regulation of Uber in New York City (US), Madrid (Spain) and Berlin (Germany).

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Regulation and Governance by WIley.
Publisher Keywords: business power, platform economy, regulation, state, Uber
Subjects: J Political Science
K Law > K Law (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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