Professor Vili Lehdonvirta

Vili Lehdonvirta is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute. He is an economic sociologist who examines how digital technologies are shaping the organization of economic activities in society.

Email: vili.lehdonvirta@oii.ox.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 745 6420012

Vili Lehdonvirta is an Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. He is an economic sociologist whose research focuses on digital technologies, such as apps, platforms, and marketplaces — how they are governed, how they shape the organization of economic activities, and with what implications to workers, consumers, businesses, and policy. His research has been published in the Journal of Management, New Media & Society, Work, Employment & Society, and other leading academic journals (Google Scholar).

Lehdonvirta is the principal investigator of iLabour, a major research project on online freelancing and the gig economy, funded by the European Research Council. He also leads research projects on online labour markets’ effects in rural areas and crowdworkers’ skill development. His other recent research takes a critical look at Bitcoin and blockchain. His previous research on virtual goods, virtual consumption and digital games is summarized in Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis, published by MIT Press and translated to Chinese by China Renmin University Press.

Lehdonvirta’s research draws on theories and approaches from economic sociology, new institutional economics, labour sociology, and science and technology studies. He and his students and postdoctoral researchers use a range of conventional social research methods as well as novel data science approaches. Lehdonvirta sits on the editorial boards of the journals Policy & Internet, The Information SocietyElectronic Commerce Research and the Journal of International Business Policy.

Lehdonvirta is a Hugh Price Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, an associate member of the Department of Sociology, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, London, where he co-convenes the Protocol Governance interest group. Lehdonvirta holds a PhD in Economic Sociology from the University of Turku (2009) and a MSc from the Helsinki University of Technology (2005). Previously he worked at the London School of Economics, the University of Tokyo, and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. Before his academic career, he worked as a game programmer.

Lehdonvirta has advised companies, policy makers, and international organizations in Europe, United States, and Japan. He is a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on the Online Platform Economy and the High-Level Expert Group on Digital Transformation and EU Labour Markets. His research has been covered by The Economist, The Guardian, Washington Post, Die Zeit, Le Monde, NHK World, and other popular media around the world.

Photo credit: John Cairns

Positions held at the OII

  • Associate Professor, May 2016 –
  • Senior Research Fellow, May 2016 –
  • Director of DPhil programme, October 2014 – December 2016
  • Research Fellow, May 2013 – May 2016

Research interests

digital economy, platform economy, sharing economy, network economy, crowdsourcing, electronic markets, reputation systems, peer production, future of work, future of organizing, freelancing, skills, labour relations, governance, regulation, Digital Single Market, Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan

Areas of interest for doctoral supervision

all of the above topic areas, from sociological, organization studies, and new institutional economics (transaction cost economics) perspectives

Current doctoral students


Latest blog posts

Current projects

Past projects

Books

  • Lehdonvirta, V. and Castronova, E. (2014) Virtual Economies Design and Analysis. MIT Press.

Chapters

  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2016) "Algorithms That Divide and Unite: Delocalization, Identity, and Collective Action in ‘Microwork’" In: Space, Place and Global Digital Work Flecker, J. (eds.). London: Palgrave Macmillan. 53-80.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2015) "ヘルシンキの春" In: 国家がよみがえるとき 持たざる国であるフィンランドが何度も再生できた理由 Furuichi, N. and Toivonen, T. (eds.). Tokyo: Magazine House.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2014) "Virtuality in the sphere of economics" In: The Oxford Handbook of Virtuality. Oxford University Press.
  • Molesworth, M. (2013) "Digital Virtual Consumption" In: Digital Virtual Consumption. Routledge. 11-28.
  • El-Fatatry, M., Lee, S., Khan, T. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2011) "A digital media approach to Islamic marketing" In: Handbook of Islamic Marketing. 338-360.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2008) "Real-Money Trade of Virtual Assets: New Strategies for Virtual World Operators" In: Virtual Worlds Ipe, M. (eds.). Hyderabad: Icfai University Press. 113-137.
  • LEHDONVIRTA, V.A. "Electronic Markets" In: Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Ritzer, G. (eds.) 2nd.
  • LEHDONVIRTA, V.A. "Gold Farming" In: Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology Ritzer, G. (eds.) 2nd.
  • Hamari, J. and Lehdonvirta, V. "Pelimekaniikat osana ansaintalogiikkaa – Miten pelisuunnittelulla luodaan kysyntää" In: Pelitutkimuksen vuosikirja 2010 Suominen, J., Koskimaa, R., Mäyrä, F. and Sotamaa, O. (eds.).

Conference papers

  • CORPORAAL, G.F. and LEHDONVIRTA, V. (2018) Motivations for platform sourcing: Why do firms adopt online labor markets for knowledge work?. Reshaping Work Conference, Amsterdam October 25-26.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", Development Studies Association 2016. DSA 2016: Development Studies Association Conference.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2016) "The new frontier of outsourcing: online labour markets and the consequences for poverty in the Global South.", Work, Employment and Society Conference. SAGE Publications (UK and US).
  • Kassi, O.A., Lehdonvirta, V., Graham, M., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) “Not a Lot of People Know Where It Is”: Liabilities of Origin in Online Contract Work. Collective Intelligence, NYU, New York, 31 May – 2 September 2016.
  • Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H. and Hjorth, I. (2016) "Virtual Production Networks: Fixing Commodification and Disembeddedness", GPNs and social upgrading: labour and beyond - Workshop.
  • Kassi, O. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2016) "Building the Online Labour Index: A Tool for Policy and Research", CSCW 2016 workshop on The Future of Platforms as Sites of Work, Collaboration and Trust,.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H., Graham, M. and Hjorth, I. (2014) "Online labour markets - levelling the playing field for international service markets?", IPP2014: Crowdsourcing for Politics and Policy conference, University of Oxford,.
  • Hosio, S., Goncalves, J., Lehdonvirta, V., Ferreira, D. and Kostakos, V. (2014) "Situated crowdsourcing using a market model", Proceedings of the 27th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology - UIST '14. the 27th annual ACM symposium, 5 – 8 October 2014. ACM Press. 55-64.
  • Ratan, R., Lehdonvirta, V., Kennedy, T. and Williams, D. (2012) "Razing the virtual glass ceiling: Gendered economic disparity in two massive online games", ICA Annual Conference.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Alexandrova, T. and Nakajima, T. (2012) "Drawing on mobile crowds via social media", Multimedia Systems. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. 18 (1) 53-67.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Alexandrova, T. and Nakajima, T. (2011) "Real-Time Crowd Computing Using Social Media", CrowdConf 2011.
  • Liu, Y., Alexandrova, T., Nakajima, T. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2011) "Mobile Image Search via Local Crowd: A User Study", 2011 IEEE 17th International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications. 2011 IEEE 17th International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications (RTCSA), 28 – 31 August 2011. IEEE. 2 109-112.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Alexandrova, T., Liu, M. and Nakajima, T. (2011) "Engaging Social Medias: Case Mobile Crowdsourcing", First International Workshop on Social Media Engagement (SoME 2011), 20th International World Wide Web Conference.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Kleppe, M., Alexandrova, T., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2010) "A Crowdsourcing Based Mobile Image Translation and Knowledge Sharing Service", Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2010).
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2010) "Digital free time: social leisure and leisurely shopping in online peer groups", XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology RC13/RC23 joint session on Emerging Technologies and Leisure.
  • Yamabe, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Ito, H., Soma, H., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2010) "Activity-Based Micro-pricing: Realizing Sustainable Behavior Changes through Economic Incentives", Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics). Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 6137 LNCS 193-204.
  • Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "ECOISLAND: A System for Persuading Users to Reduce CO2 Emissions", 2009 Software Technologies for Future Dependable Distributed Systems. 2009 First International Workshop on Software Technologies for Future Dependable Distributed Systems (STFSSD), 17 March 2009. IEEE. 59-63.
  • Yamabe, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Ito, H., Soma, H., Kimura, H., Nakajima, T. and ACM (2009) "Applying Pervasive Technologies to Create Economic Incentives that Alter Consumer Behavior", UBICOMP'09: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 11TH ACM INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON UBIQUITOUS COMPUTING. 175-184.
  • Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "Using individual, social and economic persuasion techniques to reduce CO2emissions in a family setting", Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology - Persuasive '09. the 4th International Conference, 26 – 29 April 2009. ACM Press. 350.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Soma, H., Ito, H., Yamabe, T., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "UbiPay", Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Mobile Technology, Application & Systems - Mobility '09. the 6th International Conference, 2 – 4 September 2009. ACM Press.
  • Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "Tracking behavior in persuasive apps", Proceedings of the 27th international conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems - CHI EA '09. the 27th international conference extended abstracts, 4 – 9 April 2009. ACM Press. 4045-4050.
  • Nakajima, T., Kimura, H., Yamabe, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Takayama, C., Shiraishi, M. and Washio, Y. (2008) "Using aesthetic and empathetic expressions to motivate desirable lifestyle", Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics). 5279 LNCS 220-234.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Soma, H., Ito, H., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2008) "Ubipay", Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual CHI conference extended abstracts on Human factors in computing systems - CHI '08. Proceeding of the twenty-sixth annual CHI conference extended abstracts, 5 – 10 April 2008. ACM Press. 3537-3542.
  • Nakajima, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E. and Kimura, H. (2008) "Reflecting human behavior to motivate desirable lifestyle", Proceedings of the 7th ACM conference on Designing interactive systems - DIS '08. the 7th ACM conference, 25 – 27 February 2008. ACM Press. 405-414.
  • Nakajima, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E., Ayabe, M., Kimura, H. and Okuda, Y. (2007) "Lifestyle Ubiquitous Gaming: Making Daily Lives More Plesurable", 13th IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications (RTCSA 2007). 13th IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications (RTCSA 2007), 21 – 24 August 2007. IEEE. 257-264.

Journal articles

Reports

  • MacDonald-Korth, D., Lehdonvirta, V. and Meyer, E. (2018) The Art Market 2.0: Blockchain and Financialisation in Visual Arts. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.
  • Corporaal, G.F. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2017) Platform Sourcing: How Fortune 500 Firms Are Adopting Online Freelancing Platforms. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.
  • Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Wood, A., Barnard, H., Hjorth, I. and Peter Simon, D. (2017) "The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins" In: The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. and Robleh, A. (2016) "Governance and Regulation" In: Distributed Ledger Technology: Beyond Blockchain. London: UK Government Office for Science.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. and Ernkvist, M. (2011) Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy. Washington DC.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. (2011) "Digital labour in online games" In: O. Sotamaa et al. (eds), New Paradigms for Digital Games: The Finnish Perspective. Tampere: University of Tampere.
  • Lehdonvirta, V. and Huotari, K. (2010) Advanced Virtual Economy Applications: Project Final Report. Espoo: Helsinki Institute for Information Technology.