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Historical institutionalism and technological change: the case of Uber

  • Madison Cartwright

Abstract

In recent years, jurisdictions have struggled to address the emergence of “sharing” businesses, such as Uber. These businesses have used technology to avoid the regulations that usually apply to industries, such as taxis. By applying a historical institutionalist analysis, this article explains how authorities have responded to these companies. Through a detailed case study of Uber's presence in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States, the article makes an empirical contribution by illustrating how regulatory regimes have responded to “disruptive” technology. Furthermore, by applying an exogenously induced and endogenously mitigated model of change the article addresses the bifurcation in historical institutionalist literature between exogenous and endogenous accounts of change. This helps develop historical institutionalism theoretically, responds to criticisms of agent-based approaches and advances a model that can be applied to the study of technological change more generally.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Madison Cartwright, postdoctoral fellow, Université Laval, and visiting fellow, The University of Sydney; Email: madison-karl.cartwright.1@ulaval.ca

References

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