Conceptualising Digital Platforms in Developing Countries as Socio-Technical Transitions: A Multi-Level Perspective Analysis of EasyTaxi in Colombia

Juan Erasmo Gomez-Morantes, Richard Heeks, Richard Duncombe

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Abstract

Digital platforms play an increasing role across socio-economic sectors in developing countries yet development research to date on this topic has been limited and under-conceptualised. To help facilitate such research in future, this paper presents and applies the “multi-level perspective” as a framework to understand platforms in development as socio-technical transitions. Analysing a successful ride-hailing platform – EasyTaxi in Colombia – it finds what was originally a niche innovation then effected a socio-technical transition within Bogotá’s taxi regime. Although there are some issues in applying the framework, it is found to have a factoral, scalar and longitudinal holism that were lacking in existing conceptualisations within the literature on platforms and developing countries. The multi-level perspective offers insights into the process of innovation, rapidity of scaling, and development impacts relating to resource endowments, institutional formalisation, and shifts in power. The framework may therefore be a useful lens for development researchers seeking to better understand digital platforms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)978-1002
Number of pages25
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Volume34
Issue number2
Early online date21 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

Keywords

  • Digital platform
  • Multi-level perspective
  • Ride-hailing
  • Socio-technical transitions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute

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