The Politics of Platform Capitalism. A Case Study on the Regulation of Uber in New York


Platform companies like Uber not only disrupt existing markets but also contest existing regulatory regimes. This raises the question of how, when, and why such companies are regulated. This paper develops, tests and defends a theoretical framework that explains the politics of regulatory response to the rise of platform capitalism. Using discourse network analysis and a case study on the regulation of Uber in New York, it shows that the success or failure of regulations depends on the ability of actors to mobilize broad coalition; that narratives affect the composition of these coalitions; and that platform companies have both unique political strengths and vulnerabilities. The paper makes substantive contributions to our understanding of the politics of platform capitalism, and it makes theoretical contributions to the literatures on coalitional politics, ideational institutionalism, and business power.

Timo Seidl
Timo Seidl

I am a Post-Doc at the University of Vienna’s Centre for European Integration Research (EIF).