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La « fabrique réglementaire » autour de l’arrivée d’Uber

La « fabrique réglementaire » autour de l’arrivée d’Uber

Urwana Coiquaud et Lucie Morissette

Volume : 75-4 (2020)


The arrival of Uber has led to a minor revolution owing to its innovative concept of taxi services. The new concept was made possible by a digital application (the platform) that can pair drivers with passengers. Uber’s arrival could have been beneficial to the entire industry, but it took place, in Quebec, with no regard for the longstanding players and, above all, for the regulations then in force, which were, thereby, weakened and, then, demolished. The industry was finally deregulated.

This research is based on a longitudinal case study of the transformation of Quebec’s taxi industry following Uber’s arrival. It looks more specifically at the role of the state and the platform in public policy-making. Our main takeaway: the Uber platform gained importance and assumed a distinctive role in development of these public policies as it became a “regulatory entrepreneur.”

Through analysis of the disruptions leading to deregulation, it is possible to assess the government’s regulatory responses during those transformations, the processes and criteria that guided the development of new rules and the leading actors. To study this “regulatory factory” (Guy Rocher) and the platform’s special role in that process, we rely on an analytical grid that brings together innovation and the public good into our understanding of public policy-making in a digital economy context.

Keywords: Uber, taxi, digital platforms, public policies, deregulation, Quebec.