Final Sub-grants: Policy frameworks for digital platforms - Moving from openness to inclusion

IT for Change and IDRC are pleased to announce the results of our call for researchers for our project 'Policy frameworks for digital platforms - Moving from Openness to Inclusion'. We received a large number of highly competitive proposals for the call from several qualified applicants. A total of 62 proposals were received from 33 countries for this call. 11 proposals were selected from this pool.

Overworked and undervalued: Are local digital platforms transforming the narratives of care workers in the Philippines?

Research Team: Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives; Jessamine Pacis, Foundation for Media Alternatives; Titanne Barrameda, University of the Philippines

Grant Amount: 8666 CAD

This research project will explore emerging digital platforms of ‘carework’ in the Philippines and examine their transformative impact upon narratives of domestic work and mothering. A significant element of the study is an investigation of the structural exclusions and inequalities in the digital care economy in relation to gender and class.

Peer to peer lending platforms as tools for financial inclusion in Uruguay

Research Team: Mercedes Aguirre, ORT University Uruguay; Sandra Garcia-Rivadulla, Independent Researcher

Grant Amount: 8666 CAD

This study will aim to trace the current landscape of P2P-based platforms in Uruguay, with a special focus on the regulatory framework under which these platforms were developed. It will shed light on the existent gap between the current regulatory framework and business practice in the rapidly advancing fin-tech sector and understand if and how P2P lending practices are able to address the needs of low income groups, start-up entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Mapping Rioplatense platform economy. The case of MercadoLibre in Uruguay and Argentina

Research Team: Alejandro Artopoulos, Universidad de San Andrés; Ana Laura Rivoir, Universidad de la República, Uruguay; Santiago Escuder, Universidad de la República, Uruguay; Jimena Huarte, Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina

Grant Amount: 17333 CAD

This study will examine the platform economy in the Southern Cone through an examination of Mercadolibre, a regional e-commerce ‘unicorn’ company. Mapping both the relationships with the downstream of the data value chain, the information infrastructure and institutional framework and data-value chain, the study will explore exclusions, opportunities and barriers to participation in the economy.

Making the platform economy work for women, small business holders and marginalized workers in Indonesia's travel sector

Research Team:  Caitlin Bentley, Independent Researcher, Singapore, Ilya Fadjar Maharika, Universitas Islam Indonesia

Grant Amount: 8650 CAD

Digital travel platforms, such as, have in many ways disrupted the travel industry. These platforms are intended to facilitate travelers’ experiences, by collecting and distributing information so that travelers can find hotels, attractions and businesses according to specific locations and their preferences. However, by focusing on the travelers’ needs and preferences, the capitalist economic dimensions of travel are emphasised at the expense of social inclusion and human development concerns. In places where severe social, economic inequality and informality prevail, travel platforms’ monopoly on information and access to customers risks further disadvantaging small businesses and exploiting marginalized workers. Gendered dimensions of travel, such traditional roles and responsibilities, or cultural symbolism may also trap individuals into perpetuating gender inequalities when there is a clear touristic demand popularised through travel platforms. Our project investigates social inclusion policy for the platform economy within the travel sector in Indonesia in three ways. First, we explore whether and how workers in the travel sector, local businesses, and alternative tourism models and services (co-operatively owned, eco-tourism, etc.) are affected by the increasing influence of the platform economy. Second, we investigate the spatial, territorial and cultural implications of travel platforms. Third, we uncover the ways in which gender roles and biases are challenged and/or reproduced through inclusion or exclusion in the platform economy within the travel sector. We will conduct four in-depth case studies across Indonesia’s archipelago, incorporating participatory interviews, territorial mapping, and ethnographic participant observation. Our research will contribute key social inclusion policy recommendations for both local governance and international advocacy.


Deliver on the promise of the platform economy in China: A policy agenda for inclusive development

Research Team: Julie Yujie Chen, University of Leicester; Jack LIinchuan Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong; Ping Sun, Chinese Academy of Social Science

Grant Amount: 17250 CAD

Situated in China’s specific economic and legal context, the proposed project aims to establish an inclusive policy agenda pivoting on platform justice. Focussing on food delivery and ridesharing apps, this study will examine how economic opportunity, barriers to participation in the economy, gains and risks are perceived and acted upon by different actors in shaping the platform ecosystem, especially by workers, platform companies, and regulatory authorities.

Data policies: Regulatory approaches for data-Driven platforms in the UK and EU

Research Team: Arne Hintz, Cardiff University; Lina Dencik, Cardiff University; Joanna Redden, Cardiff University

Grant Amount: 8666 CAD

This study will examine policy frameworks pertaining to data collection, analysis, and sharing, and thus the core of the business model of online platforms. It will focus on the United Kingdom as a jurisdiction where new laws – the Investigatory Powers Act (2016) and the Digital Economy Act (2017) – have changed the regulatory environment for platforms and are likely to influence policy development in other countries. Further, it will incorporate the regional context of the European Union where a significant and potentially transformative new policy – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – will come into effect next year.

Towards inclusive platformization in Nigeria

Research Team: Kemi Ogunyemi, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria; Martha Onyeajuwa, School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria; Ogechi Adeola, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria; Uchechukwu Aneke, Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria

Grant Amount: 17333 CAD

This study will attempt to trace the contours of the platform economy in the Nigerian system and analyze the institutional-regulatory context in this regard. By focussing on various case studies on mobile money, e-commerce, ridesharing etc, the study will examine cross-cutting issue such as trust and consumer protection, terms of use, multilateral trade regimes and their implications for the platformization of the Nigerian economy.

Investigating the operational and labour policy frameworks for taxi-hailing platforms: Case of Uber and Taxify in South Africa

Research Team: Admire Mare, University of Johannesburg; Shepherd Mpofu, University of Johannesburg, Sarah Helen Chiumbu, Human Sciences Research Council

Grant Amount: 8620 CAD

This study will seek to investigate the nature, operational logistics and labour relations dynamics of taxi hailing platforms in South Africa in the context of the taxi wars of South Africa. It will examine and analyze the institutional-legal context in which taxi hailing platforms operate vis a vi traditional transportation services with a view of recommending policy frameworks that tackle inequality, promote inclusion and advance development justice in the global South.

Research and policy making through the data of platform enterprises

Research Team: Katherine Reilly, Simon Fraser University; Carol Muñoz Nieves, Simon Fraser University

Grant Amount: 17333 CAD

This study aims at producing strategic baseline knowledge about the data-related challenges and opportunities posed to researchers and policy-makers by platform logistics brokers in the City of Vancouver, Canada through case study research of sharing economy initiatives that form part of the local platform ‘innovation sector’. In addition, the research will examine the financial, transactional, identity, insurance and delivery platforms that these initiatives draw on to support their activities. Together, these B-2-C and B-2-B actors create data power structures that mobilize around specific transactions. Finally, the project will explore the municipal, provincial and federal policy context for data power structures.

Protection of users in the platform economy: a European perspective

Research Team: Alain Strowel, UCLouvain (Belgium); Rossana Ducato, UCLouvain (Belgium); Anne-Grace Kleczewski, UCLouvain (Belgium); Enguerrand Marique, UCLouvain (Belgium); Céline Wattecamps, UCLouvain (Belgium)

Grant Amount: 17333 CAD

will focus on the current gaps of protection affecting the participants in the platform economy. It will address this legal issue by investigating the power relationships between the platform and its users (both professional and not) and exposing the information asymmetries and economic imbalance via an empirical analysis of the platforms Terms and Privacy policies, in correlation with their business models. >

The study will look at the European consumer protection and labour law relevant aspects through an examination of ride-sharing, gig work, accommodation platforms in Belgium, France and Italy.


A new land of giants: policy for digital platforms in media and audiovisual markets in Brazil

Research Team: Francisco Brito Cruz, InternetLab; Mariana Giorgetti Valente, InternetLab; Maike Wile dos Santos, InternetLab

Grant Amount: 8666 CAD

This study will examine the platformization of the Brazilian audiovisual industry through an exploration of Video on Demand (VoD) platforms. The study will situate the analysis in the Brazilian National Plan of Culture (Law n. 12.343/2010) which implemented a long-term package of public policies aimed to protect and promote Brazilian cultural diversity. Although it contains an important set of practices and procedures, the plan did not anticipate the emergence of VoD platforms, the new promising market for expansion of the audiovisual industry, which is emerging while policies for the OTT sector are being studied and slowly implemented, especially by the Brazilian Agency of Cinema.

What We Do
Resource Type