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Online labour index: Measuring the online gig economy for policy and research

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  • Kässi, Otto
  • Lehdonvirta, Vili

Abstract

Labour markets are thought to be in the midst of a dramatic transformation, where standard employment is increasingly supplemented or substituted by temporary work mediated by online platforms. Yet the scale and scope of these changes is hard to assess, because conventional labour market statistics and economic indicators are ill-suited to measuring this “online gig work”. We present the Online Labour Index (OLI), an experimental economic indicator that approximates the conventional labour market statistic of new open vacancies. It measures the utilization of online labour across countries and occupations by tracking the number of projects and tasks posted on major online gig platforms in near-real time. The purpose of this article is to introduce the OLI and describe the methodology behind it. We also demonstrate how it can be used to address previously unanswered questions about the online gig economy. To benefit policymakers, labour market researchers and the general public, our results are published in an interactive online visualisation which is updated daily.

Suggested Citation

  • Kässi, Otto & Lehdonvirta, Vili, 2018. "Online labour index: Measuring the online gig economy for policy and research," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 241-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:137:y:2018:i:c:p:241-248
    DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2018.07.056
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    Cited by:

    1. Brice Corgnet & Simon Gaechter & Roberto Hernan Gonzalez, 2020. "Working Too Much for Too Little: Stochastic Rewards Cause Work Addiction," Discussion Papers 2020-03, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    2. Yoonyoung Cho & Zaineb Majoka, 2020. "Pakistan Jobs Diagnostic," World Bank Other Operational Studies 33317, The World Bank.
    3. PASHKEVICH, Volha & HAFTOR, Darek M. & PASHKEVICH, Natallia, 2021. "The information sector in Denmark and Sweden: Value, employment, wages," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 162(C).
    4. Gerber, Christine & Krzywdzinski, Martin, 2019. "Brave New Digital Work? New Forms of Performance Control in Crowdwork," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 121-143.
    5. Yao Yao, 2020. "Uberizing the Legal Profession? Lawyer Autonomy and Status in the Digital Legal Market," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 58(3), pages 483-506, September.
    6. Maier, Michael F. & Viete, Steffen & Ody, Margard, 2017. "Plattformbasierte Erwerbsarbeit: Stand der empirischen Forschung," IZA Research Reports 81, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Christine Mayrhuber & Julia Bock-Schappelwein, 2018. "Dimensionen plattformbasierter Arbeit in Österreich und Europa. Implikationen für die soziale Sicherheit," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 61667.
    8. Iyanatul Islam, 2019. "Growth, New Technology and the Future of Work: International Evidence and Implications for India," The Indian Journal of Labour Economics, Springer;The Indian Society of Labour Economics (ISLE), vol. 62(1), pages 31-53, March.
    9. Hilbert, Martin R. & Lu, Kangbo, 2020. "The online job market trace in Latin America and the Caribbean," Documentos de Proyectos 45892, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    10. Heiland, Heiner, 2020. "Workers' Voice in platform labour: An Overview," WSI Studies 21, The Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI), Hans Böckler Foundation.
    11. Aleksynska, Mariya & Bastrakova, Anastasia & Kharchenko, Natalia Nikolaevna, 2019. "Working Conditions on Digital Labour Platforms: Evidence from a Leading Labour Supply Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 12245, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Online freelancing; Online labour markets; Online gig economy; Measurement; Statistics; Measurement of vacancies; Web data collection;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • C88 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Other Computer Software
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General

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