'Scourge Pricing': Understanding and Challenging Uber's Business Model

Centre for Future Work Economist Alison Pennington recently gave a keynote address to hundreds of delegates at the ATIA International Taxi Conference, held this year in Gold Coast, QLD.

Her presentation discussed the historical, economic, and moral context for the rise of "gig-economy" businesses, such as Uber. She reviewed Uber's business model, and the company's recent IPO, in detail, arguing that it depends on underpayment of its drivers -- who for all practical purposes are "employees," even if current labour laws do not always explicitly recognise them as such.

Growing competition, regulatory and legal problems, and growing resistance to the ultra-precarious and low-wage incomes offered in this type of work suggest that the future success of digital platform businesses like Uber is very much in doubt.

Pennington also referenced findings of our previous paper estimating the net incomes of Uber-X drivers in 6 Australian cities.

Please view Alison Pennington's full presentation here.


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