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Digital workers by design? An example from the on-demand economy

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  • Maselli,Ilaria
  • Fabo, Brian

Abstract

Recent organisational and technological changes have generated a digital class of workers and contractors – in effect a new labour-market fringe. In this paper the authors take the case of an Italian crowdsourcing platform for interior design, called CoContest, to examine whether this medium is profitable and why professionals would choose to supply their work via such a platform. The authors’ analysis shows that despite the low returns on crowdsourced design work, a straightforward pattern of northern employer/southern contractor is not represented here because designers supply their work even if they live in Italy, which is a high-income country. For these designers CoContest can make sense if they are new to the labour market and face high entry barriers, although crowdsourcing does not offer them profitable full-time employment. The case of Serbia, however, which is the second-largest supplier of designers on the platform, is interesting in this regard. As a result of differences in purchasing power, experienced Serbian designers can make a living from crowdsourced contracts, assuming that the market continues to grow.

Suggested Citation

  • Maselli,Ilaria & Fabo, Brian, 2015. "Digital workers by design? An example from the on-demand economy," CEPS Papers 11030, Centre for European Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:eps:cepswp:11030
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    File URL: https://www.ceps.eu/system/files/WD414%20IM%20and%20BF%20Interior%20Designer.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Johnson & David Cooper, "undated". "Ambiguity in Performance Pay: An Online Experiment," Working Papers 2014-83, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 10 Nov 2014.
    2. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The skill content of recent technological change: an empirical exploration," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Nov.
    3. Chandler, Dana & Kapelner, Adam, 2013. "Breaking monotony with meaning: Motivation in crowdsourcing markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 123-133.
    4. Frey, Carl Benedikt & Osborne, Michael A., 2017. "The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 254-280.
    5. Maselli, Ilaria, 2012. "The evolving supply and demand of skills in the labour market," CEPS Papers 7911, Centre for European Policy Studies.
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    Cited by:

    1. De Groen, Willem Pieter & Maselli, Ilaria & Fabo, Brian, 2016. "The Digital Market for Local Services: A one-night stand for workers? An example from the on-demand economy," CEPS Papers 11438, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    2. Maselli, Ilaria & Lenaerts, Karolien & Beblavý, Miroslav, 2016. "Five things we need to know about the on-demand economy," CEPS Papers 11209, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    3. Cristiano Codagnone & Fabienne Abadie & Federico Biagi, 2016. "The Future of Work in the ‘Sharing Economy’. Market Efficiency and Equitable Opportunities or Unfair Precarisation?," JRC Working Papers JRC101280, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    4. Fabo, B., 2017. "Towards an understanding of job matching using web data," Other publications TiSEM b8b877f2-ae6a-495f-b6cc-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.

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