Using scenarios to explore future implications for employment
Authors: Anne-Katrin Bock, Laurent Bontoux, Susana Figueiredo do Nascimento, Alice Szczepanikova
Date Published: November 2016
Research Commissioned by Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
Why we select this research?
The authors of this paper move the debate towards longer-term considerations and explore the possible future developments of the EU collaborative economy in 2030, at the same time, proposing important issues related to employment that governments should be prepared for, and aware of. This research is relevant for policymakers as it addresses relevant topics, such as social protection of workers, data and reputation as well as valuable competences and skills in for platfom-mediated work.
The analysis by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre imagines four potential scenarios that explore challenges for platform- mediated labour markets, as well as how the collaborative economy could contribute to public service provision and social innovation. The four scenarios constructed are positioned along two dimensions – whether they are more or less community-oriented, combined with the relative strength of EU governance. Below, the key characteristics of each future scenario are briefly described:
1. Strong Community Spirit / EU divergence:
- Community-owned/cooperative platforms shape the collaborative economy, emphasising transparency and self-regulation.
- Presence of a pervasive self-organising collaborative ethos within a largely conventional economic context and with a surge in local initiatives.
2. Strong Community Spirit / EU Convergence:
- Public authorities push for the optimum use of resources and investment in labour and expertise to build a sustainable future.
- A clear legal framework provides the boundaries for an EU-centred collaborative economy with active government involvement.
3. An Individualistic Society / EU Convergence:
- EU governance pushes for unfettered market access and technology as a way towards a more resource-efficient future.
- A large variety of commercial platforms thrive in global competition and in an increasingly polarised, micro-entrepreneur society.
4. An Individualist Society / EU Divergence:
- Weak governance combined with corporate power puts pressure on citizens to find diverse ways to ensure livelihood.
- Large, commercial platforms dominate the collaborative economy in a highly competitive environment, affected by lack of trust