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. He is interested in how they shape the organization of economic activities in society, and with what implications to workers, consumers, business, and policy.

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, crowdworkers’ learning practices, and the organizational implications of distributed ledger technologies. His previous research topics include virtual consumption, digital currencies, and online games. His book Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis (with Edward Castronova) was published by MIT Press and translated to Chinese by China Renmin University Press.

Lehdonvirta’s research draws on theories and approaches from economic sociology, institutional economics, sociology of work, and science and technology studies. He and his students and postdoctoral researchers use both conventional social research methods as well as novel data science approaches.

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 of data science, London. He 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 sits on the editorial boards of the journals Policy & Internet, The Information Society, and the Journal of International Business Policy, as well as on the European Academic Advisory Council of the MIT Press. He is a co-convenor of the Protocol Governance interest group at the Turing Institute.

Lehdonvirta has advised companies, non-profits, and policy makers in the United States, Europe, and Japan, including the European Commission, the World Bank, and several national governments. His research has been covered in The Economist, The Guardian, Washington Post, Die Zeit, Le Monde, and other popular media around the world. (LinkedIn, Google Scholar)

Photo: 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

platform economy, sharing economy, crowdsourcing, electronic markets, micro-multinationals, reputation systems, blockchain, firm boundary, flexibility, network organization, labour relations, governance, regulation, Europe, Southeast Asia, Japan

Areas of interest for doctoral supervision

all of the above topic areas, from sociological and institutional (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. (2013) "A history of the digitalization of consumer culture" In: Digital Virtual Consumption. 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.
  • 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

  • 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).
  • 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.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.
  • 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", UIST 2014 - Proceedings of the 27th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. 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 Case UbiAsk: Image based mobile social search across languages", Multimedia Systems. 18 (1) 53-67.
  • Liu, Y., Alexandrova, T., Nakajima, T. and Lehdonvirta, V. (2011) "Mobile image search via local crowd: A user study", Proceedings - 1st International Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems, Networks, and Applications, CPSNA 2011, Workshop Held During RTCSA 2011. 2 109-112.
  • Liu, Y., Lehdonvirta, V., Alexandrova, T. and Nakajima, T. (2011) "Real-Time Crowd Computing Using Social Media", CrowdConf 2011.
  • 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).
  • 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). 6137 LNCS 193-204.
  • 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.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Soma, H., Ito, H., Yamabe, T., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "UbiPay: Minimizing transaction costs with smart mobile payments", Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Mobile Technology, Application and Systems, Mobility '09.
  • Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "ECOISLAND: A system for persuading users to reduce CO2emissions", Proceedings - 1st International Workshop on Software Technologies for Future Dependable Distributed Systems, STFSSD 2009. 59-63.
  • Shiraishi, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Washio, Y., Kimura, H., Takayama, C. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "Tracking behavior in persuasive apps: Is sensor-based detection always better than user self-reporting?", Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. 4045-4050.
  • Shiraishi, M., Washio, Y., Takayama, C., Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H. and Nakajima, T. (2009) "Using individual, social and economic persuasion techniques to reduce CO 2 emissions in a family setting", ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. 350.
  • Nakajima, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E. and Kimura, H. (2008) "Reflecting human behavior to motivate desirable lifestyle", Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, and Techniques, DIS. 405-414.
  • Lehdonvirta, V., Kimura, H., Soma, H., Nakajima, T. and Ito, H. (2008) "UbiPay: Conducting everyday payments with minimum user involvement", Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. 3537-3542.
  • 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.
  • Nakajima, T., Lehdonvirta, V., Tokunaga, E., Ayabe, M., Kimura, H. and Okuda, Y. (2007) "Lifestyle ubiquitous gaming: Making daily lives more plesurable", Proceedings - 13th IEEE International Conference on Embedded and Real-Time Computing Systems and Applications, RTCSA 2007. 257-264.

Journal articles

Reports

  • 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.
  • Work in the Platform Economy

    Recorded: 26 April 2018

    Duration: 00:49:39

    In this seminar, hosted by The Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), together with the Kalevi Sorsa Foundation, OII Associate Professor Vili Lehdonvirta discusses how the rights of workers can be protected in the platform economy.

  • The Problem of Governance in Distributed Ledger Technologies

    Recorded: 11 November 2016

    Duration: 00:25:22

    Professor Vili Lehdonvirta gives a talk at the Alan Turing Institute on 'The Problem of Governance in Distributed Ledger Technologies'

  • Digital Technology and Economic Organization: OII MSc Option Course

    Recorded: 13 October 2016

    Duration: 00:04:28

    This option course for the OII MSc in "Social Science of the Internet" will teach students how to apply basic social science theory towards analysing the impact of digital technologies on economic organization.

  • Digital Assembly 2016 – Workshop 2: eCommerce and Online Platforms

    Recorded: 28 September 2016

    Duration: 03:12:05

    Video of Professor Vili Lehdonvirta in Panel Discussion 'The changing role of online platforms' at the Digital Assembly 2016 - Workshop 2: eCommerce and Online Platforms on 28 September 2016.

  • Rise of online work captured in a new Online Labour Index

    Recorded: 26 September 2016

    Duration: 00:02:06

    Vili Lehdonvirta discusses the digital transformation of labour markets and the rise of online work captured in a new Online Labour Index.

  • Online Platforms, Diversity and Fragmentation

    Recorded: 10 March 2016

    Duration: 00:23:38

    Dr Vili Lehdonvirta, uses survey data and interviews with workers to show the heterogeneity of backgrounds and outcomes for people working on online labour platforms and compares this to traditional manufacturing work.

  • Emerging Markets on the Internet

    Recorded: 8 November 2013

    Duration: 00:19:33

    Vili Lehdonvirta discusses emerging markets on the Internet.