The feasibility of platform cooperatives in the gig economy

Damion Jonathan Bunders*, Martijn Arets, Koen Frenken, Tine De Moor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


In view of the precarity and economic dependency of gig workers, platform cooperatives come into the picture as alternatives to investor-owned platforms. We develop a taxonomy of platform cooperatives along the dimensions of ownership of the platform and employment by the cooperative. Platform cooperatives are then examined as worker-run matchmaking platforms for gigs, by analysing their challenges, highlighting the difficulties to raise capital, take collective decisions, and gain institutional support. On the basis of a feasibility analysis, we conclude that the identified challenges can most likely be successfully overcome by platform co-ops that organise taxi rides and professional jobs, while it may prove much more difficult in food delivery, homecare and micro-tasking.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100167
JournalJournal of Co-operative Organization and Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

M.A. and K.F. benefitted from funding from the Strategic Theme
“Institutions for Open Societies” at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
D.J.B. and T.D.M. benefitted from funding through the programme
“Sustainable Cooperation – Roadmaps to Resilient Societies (SCOOP)”
awarded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in the
context of its 2017 Gravitation Program (grant number 024.003.025).
We are grateful for comments by Rense Corten and Juliet Schor, and two
anonomous reviewers. The usual caveat applies.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors


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