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How many people microwork in France? Estimating the size of a new labor force

Author

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  • Clément Le Ludec

    (MSH Paris-Saclay - Maison des Sciences de l'Homme - Paris Saclay - UVSQ - Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines - UP11 - Université Paris-Sud - Paris 11 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENS Paris Saclay - Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay)

  • Paola Tubaro

    () (TAU - TAckling the Underspecified - LRI - Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique - UP11 - Université Paris-Sud - Paris 11 - CentraleSupélec - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - Inria Saclay - Ile de France - Inria - Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique)

  • 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)

Abstract

Microwork platforms allocate fragmented tasks to crowds of providers with remunerations as low as few cents. Instrumental to the development of today's artificial intelligence, these micro-tasks push to the extreme the logic of casualization already observed in "uberized" workers. The present article uses the results of the DiPLab study to estimate the number of people who microwork in France. We distinguish three categories of microworkers, corresponding to different modes of engagement: a group of 14,903 "very active" microworkers, most of whom are present on these platforms at least once a week; a second featuring 52,337 "routine" microworkers, more selective and present at least once a month; a third circle of 266,126 "casual" microworkers, more heterogeneous and who alternate inactivity and various levels of work practice. Our results show that microwork is comparable to, and even larger than, the workforce of ride-sharing and delivery platforms in France. It is therefore not an anecdotal phenomenon and deserves great attention from researchers, unions and policy-makers.

Suggested Citation

  • Clément Le Ludec & Paola Tubaro & Antonio Casilli, 2019. "How many people microwork in France? Estimating the size of a new labor force," Working Papers hal-02012731, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-02012731
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02012731
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neil Stewart & Christoph Ungemach & Adam J. L. Harris & Daniel M. Bartels & Ben R. Newell & Gabriele Paolacci & Jesse Chandler, "undated". "The Average Laboratory Samples a Population of 7,300 Amazon Mechanical Turk Workers," Mathematica Policy Research Reports f97b669c7b3e4c2ab95c9f805, Mathematica Policy Research.
    2. Neil Stewart & Christoph Ungemach & Adam J. L. Harris & Daniel M. Bartels & Ben R. Newell & Gabriele Paolacci & Jesse Chandler, 2015. "The average laboratory samples a population of 7,300 Amazon Mechanical Turk workers," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 10(5), pages 479-491, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paola Tubaro & Antonio A. Casilli, 2019. "Micro-work, artificial intelligence and the automotive industry," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 333-345, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    digital platforms; algorithms; digital labor; Micro-work; digital transformation;
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