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Platform Economics

The Federal Ministry of Labor (BMAS) examines work on digital platform

A report by the Federal Ministry of Labor summarizes the current state of empirical research on platform-based employment. It is still a rather poorly understood niche phenomenon in Germany.

14 Dec. 2017
Claudia Witte
BMAS
The Federal Ministry of Labor (BMAS) examines work on digital platforms (picture: Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung GmbH)

The authors of the BMAS study have analyzed the previously available literature and are using the findings to make basic statements on platform-based employment. According to the study, around 0.5% of the population is working in online or mobile labor markets in Germany. The employed persons are comparatively young and have a fairly high level of education. At the same time, they tend to have a rather low household income, clearly differentiating the group from the workforce as a whole.

The evaluated studies have also shown that platform workers consider remuneration as slightly more important than autonomy or enjoyment of work. The amount of work per provider is also significantly lower on platforms that offer simple activities than those offering more complex activities. The authors nevertheless also point out that the findings are difficult to compare due to the large differences. The BMAS has published two further research reports on the topic: an evaluation of literature and an analysis of the strategies and positions of key players.

Since platforms bring together supply and demand, they should actually interest almost all companies and industries. According to a representative Bitkom study , however, as recently as February 2017 six out of ten managing directors and board members still said they had never heard of the terms "platform economics", "platform markets" or "digital platforms".