2017 Canadian Political Science Association

Annual Conference Programme

Ryerson University
  Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences: May 27 - June 2
  The CPSA conference dates within Congress are Tuesday, May 30 to Thursday, June 1.

All members are invited to attend the
2017 Annual General Meeting to be held on
May 31, 2017 at Ryerson University.

Time: 01:00pm to 02:00pm | Location: HEI-201 (Heidelberg Centre)

May 31, 2017

Time: Cocktails available at 6:00 pm; Dinner from 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm |
   Location: Dim Sum King (421 Dundas Street West, Toronto)


Local and Urban Politics

Session: E10 - Uber, the Sharing Economy, and Cities

Date: May 31, 2017 | Time: 03:45pm to 05:15pm | Location: VIC-104 (Victoria Building)| iCal iOS / Outlook

Chair/Président: Daniel Henstra (University of Waterloo)

Discussant/Commentateur: David Wolfe (University of Toronto)

Participants & Authors/Auteurs:

Gabriel Eidelman (University of Toronto) : Confronting Uber: Municipal Policy Responses to Disruptive Technology
Abstract: As ridesharing companies, such as Uber, expand their operations to more cities around the world, municipal governments are faced with a stiff regulatory challenge. Uber drivers do not adhere to local taxi regulations, meaning they do not pay the same licensing fees as other cabs and do not submit their vehicles for regular inspection. Critics charge that Uber drivers do not hold the proper insurance and are putting the public at risk. Despite these criticisms, ridesharing services have proven popular with consumers. Companies such as Uber and Lyft are regularly expanding their operations to new cities, raising questions about how municipal regulators should respond. In this paper we catalogue the regulatory response to ridesharing services in ten large North American cities – New York, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Mexico City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Miami, Boston, and Atlanta – and identify patterns in municipal response.

Jonathan Hall (University of Toronto), Joseph Price (Brigham Young University), Craig Palsson (Yale University) : Is Uber a Substitute or Complement to Public Transit?
Abstract: We use a differences-in-differences design to measure the effect of UberX on public transit ridership. We find that UberX increases transit ridership for smaller transit agencies, specifically by increasing bus ridership, and has no measurable effect on train ridership or larger transit agencies.

Shauna Brail (University of Toronto) : Uber vs City Hall: ‘New’ industry models within traditional systems of governance
Abstract: Uber is by turns a transportation firm, an emergent platform-economy company and a technology conglomerate. With a presence in more than 500 cities and over 75 countries worldwide, Uber operates predominantly at the urban scale. Uber, along with other transportation network firms, has become the subject of numerous high profile municipal controversies related to regulation and licensing at the local level. This paper examines the manner in which debates about Uber’s authority to operate have entered the policy agenda, using the City of Toronto as a case study. Through documentary and interview analysis, the paper examines the challenges associated with understanding, defining and adapting to new forms of economic activities, with particular emphasis on sectors that straddle the divide between the digital economy and more traditional types of activity in services and goods-producing sectors. This research addresses the role that local policymaking plays during the current period of disruptive and transformative innovation, and identifies the potential impacts of local policy decisions on place-based economic growth. Additionally, it responds to questions that include: Do policies that aim to protect employment and existing firms or activities contribute to long-term urban economic growth? Is technological innovation hindered by such policies? Are there regulatory policies that would both support existing jobs and infrastructure while at the same time leading to innovation, adoption of new digital technology and job creation at the local level?

Uber is at the forefront of the “sharing economy”. Stated in 2009, Uber is now available in over 70 countries and 500 cities around the world. The “ridesharing” giant claims to have provided more than 2 billion rides to customers who connect with their service through smart phone apps. As a result, the company is valued at $62.5 billion. Needless to say, Uber’s growth has been nothing short of remarkable. With this success, however, has come a great deal of controversy. In nearly every market Uber has entered, it has blatantly disregarded local taxi regulations, leading to protests from the cab industry and various court action by municipalities. This panel broadly explores Uber’s impact on city life, while examining how cities are responding to a fundamental challenge to their regulatory space.