The Platform Economy Matures: Measuring Pervasiveness and Exploring Power

61 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2019 Last revised: 12 Mar 2021

See all articles by Martin Kenney

Martin Kenney

University of California, Davis

Dafna Bearson

University of California, Berkeley

John Zysman

University of California, Berkeley

Date Written: June 25, 2020

Abstract

Online platforms are pervasive and powerful in today's economy. We explore the increased centrality of platforms in two ways. First, we measure the extent to which platforms are insinuating themselves into the economy. We accomplish this by analyzing the presence of platforms as intermediating organizations across all US service industries at the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code level. Our results show that 70% of service industries, representing over 5.2 million establishments, are potentially affected by one or more platforms. Second, we undertake a detailed firm-level case study of the mega-platform, Amazon, that demonstrates the ways that the aforementioned macro-level data is expressed by a single platform firm. This case study shows that Amazon’s growth trajectory has resulted in it entering and transforming existing industries and sectors. We conclude by reflecting upon the limitations and implications for future research.

Keywords: Platform Economy, Industrial Organization, Amazon, Digitization, Power, Technology, Governance

JEL Classification: J0, O1, O3

Suggested Citation

Kenney, Martin and Bearson, Dafna and Zysman, John, The Platform Economy Matures: Measuring Pervasiveness and Exploring Power (June 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3497974 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3497974

Martin Kenney (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

Community and Regional Development Unit
Davis, CA 95616
United States
5305745943 (Phone)

Dafna Bearson

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

John Zysman

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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