SHaring economy and new INequalities across Europe

September 2019-2022

The emergence of enhanced digital brokerage, due to increased computational power and the development of digital platforms aimed at offering new services not only to customers but also to service and product providers, has led to the creation of new market niches and a whole new economy: the so-called sharing economy.

After at least ten years of continuous development, we now better understand the fundamental dynamics of the sharing economy (also known as collaborative economy or digital platform economy). However, the regulatory challenges that result from these changes are yet to be successfully solved. At least, in three essential aspects (which are the SHINE Network main issues):

  • Neither the EU nor its Member States have managed so far to draw up a regulatory framework which is able to reconcile the efficiency gains brought by these new business models with the protection of European social values. In order to come up with an appropriate regulatory response it is vital to carry out exhaustive research on the different regulatory approaches that have been already implemented, evaluating both their social and economic impact. Doing so from a European perspective is essential because a particular balance between social equality and economic efficiency in our societies is an essential part of European identity.
  • Given the impact that big data, automated decision-making and computational power have on digital platform brokerage, these technologies must be closely examined, from an interdisciplinary perspective which assesses their role in enhancing digital processes as well as in generating possible situations of social inequality, addressing the regulatory choices in which these may result.
  • Finally, a rigorous and exhaustive evaluation of the impact on social fairness and inequalities of the regulatory policies applied to already consolidated sharing economy markets, such as transport or accommodation.

UCLouvain activities

The UCLouvain team will specifically focus on the WP “digital discrimination in the sharing economy: pitfalls and legal design strategies for online platforms”.

Such issue has been investigated in the US literature prominently. While, the discrimination problems and their link with the design of the architecture of sharing economy’s platforms have not been equally addressed in the European context. The goal of the research is precisely to fill this gap, by contributing to a deeper understanding of such a phenomenon in Europe and the compliance of current practices with the European framework of non-discrimination law, as interpreted by the European Court of Justice.

  • Organisation of the International conference “Human and Algorithmic Discrimination in the Sharing Economy” (4th of May 2020)
  • Legal Design Workshop “Share means Fair” (spring 2021)
  • 2 scientific publications
  • proposal for a Legal Design Manifesto on “Brighter patterns” to fight discrimination in the sharing economy

SHINE official website

Partners and reference contact

Network coordinator: Universidad de Valencia (Andrés Boix Palop)

Universitat de Barcelona (Germa Bel)

Università di Bologna (Giorgia Pavani)

Università di Palermo (Guido Smorto)

UCLouvain (Rossana Ducato)

UCLouvain team

Rossana Ducato

Enguerrand Marique

Alain Strowel

Arianna Rossi (SnT, University of Luxembourg)


Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network