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Counting ‘micro-workers’: societal and methodological challenges around new forms of labour

Author

Listed:
  • Paola Tubaro

    () (TAU - TAckling the Underspecified - Inria Saclay - Ile de France - Inria - Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique - LRI - Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique - CentraleSupélec - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LRI - Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique - CentraleSupélec - Université Paris-Saclay - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IDHES - Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Économie et de la Société - ENS Paris Saclay - Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay - UEVE - Université d'Évry-Val-d'Essonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - UP8 - Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Clément Le Ludec

    (I3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217) - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique - Télécom ParisTech - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, SES - Département Sciences Economiques et Sociales - Télécom ParisTech, IP Paris - Institut Polytechnique de Paris, SID - Sociologie Information-Communication Design - I3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217) - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique - Télécom ParisTech - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres)

  • Antonio Casilli

    () (I3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217) - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique - Télécom ParisTech - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, SES - Département Sciences Economiques et Sociales - Télécom ParisTech, IP Paris - Institut Polytechnique de Paris, SID - Sociologie Information-Communication Design - I3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217) - Institut interdisciplinaire de l’innovation - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - X - École polytechnique - Télécom ParisTech - MINES ParisTech - École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres)

Abstract

'Micro-work' consists of fragmented data tasks that myriad providers execute on online platforms. While crucial to the development of data-based technologies, this little visible and geographically spread activity is particularly difficult to measure. To fill this gap, we combined qualitative and quantitative methods (online surveys, in-depth interviews, capture-recapture techniques, and web traffic analytics) to count micro-workers in a single country, France. On the basis of this analysis, we estimate that approximately 260,000 people are registered with micro-work platforms. Of these some 50,000 are 'regular' workers who do micro-tasks at least monthly and we speculate that using a more restrictive measure of 'very active' workers decreases this figure to 15,000. This analysis contributes to research on platform labour and the labour in the digital economy that lies behind artificial intelligence.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Tubaro & Clément Le Ludec & Antonio Casilli, 2020. "Counting ‘micro-workers’: societal and methodological challenges around new forms of labour," Post-Print hal-02898905, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02898905
    DOI: 10.13169/workorgalaboglob.14.1.0067
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02898905
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    File URL: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02898905/document
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Micro-work; digital platforms; labour statistics;
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