iLabour: The Construction of Labour Markets, Institutions and Movements on the Internet

The iLabour project is premised on the idea that a fundamental change is taking place in labour markets. It seeks to understand the social and policy implications of this momentous shift.

The iLabour project is premised on the idea that a fundamental change is taking place in labour markets, or the social, technical, and institutional arrangements through which work and earnings are allocated in society. Previously these arrangements were shaped and enforced through processes of legislation, collective bargaining, and local negotiation. Today, as part of the ongoing digitization of almost every aspect of society, these arrangements are increasingly being shaped and constrained by private software systems that mediate between workers and employers. The objective of the project is to understand the social and policy implications of this momentous shift in labour markets.

The project will study online labour markets (OLMs), also referred to as online work platforms, online staffing platforms, and crowdsourcing marketplaces, forming part of the so-called “platform economy” and “sharing economy”. It will address questions about the size and growth of these markets, the kinds of rules that they embody, the politics and processes through which these rules are shaped, and the ways in which traditional labour market organizations as well as novel worker initiatives succeed or fail in influencing their rules. It will also ask what kind of an economy OLMs contribute towards – a global race to the bottom, a playful economy of moonlighters, or a network economy of individual entrepreneurs? The project will tackle these questions through an ambitious programme of conventional social research and innovative data science methods, on virtual as well as physical research sites around the world.

Support

This work is suported by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.


Latest blog posts

  • The Gig Economy Isn’t Just For Startups Anymore

    Date Published: 29 August 2017

    Source: Fortune

    Coverage of a new report by Gretta Corporaal and Vili Lehdonvirta on how Fortune 500 companies are turning to online freelancing platforms like Upwork and PeoplePerHour to find designers, marketing staff, IT specialists and other knowledge workers.

  • Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash: what happens now?

    Date Published: 7 August 2017

    Source: ITPro

    Two currencies with 50% market share in the same area are less useful than one currency with 100% market share from the point of view of ability to pay, says Vili Lehdonvirta in a comment for ITPro.

  • Bitcoin splits as new currency takes off

    Date Published: 2 August 2017

    Source: BBC News

    The bitcoin split might make it harder to establish Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash as currencies useful for commerce, says Vili Lehdonvirta, commenting on a story for BBC News.

  • Oxford: Bangladesh second largest source of online workers

    Date Published: 22 July 2017

    Source: Dhaka Tribune

    According to a recent study, Bangladesh is the second largest supplier of online labour in the world. The OII's iLabour report analysed data across multiple e-platforms connecting freelancers with employers.

  • The Bitcoin Paradox

    Date Published: 21 July 2017

    Source: Oxford Student

    Bitcoin aims to operate as a decentralised, trustless technology void of central authority, says the OII's Vili Lehdonvirta.

  • India followed by Bangladesh: largest supplier of online labour

    Date Published: 21 July 2017

    Source: The Independent

    According to a recent study, India is the largest supplier of online labour in the world. The OII's iLabour report analysed data across multiple e-platforms connecting freelancers with employers.

  • Bangladesh 2nd largest provider of ‘online labour’

    Date Published: 20 July 2017

    Source: Financial Express

    Bangladesh is the second largest supplier of online labour, says a recent OII report, analysing data from e-platforms connecting freelancers with employers.

  • India largest provider of ‘online labour’

    Date Published: 20 July 2017

    Source: Economic Times

    India is followed by Bangladesh, US, Pakistan, Philippines and the UK in what is being termed "digital gig work" or freelance work offered online. Over half of the online work supplied out of India is dominated by software development and technology.

  • India source of most online labour in the world, claims iLabour study at Oxford

    Date Published: 20 July 2017

    Source: Connected to India

    According to a recent study, India is the largest supplier of online labour in the world. The OII's iLabour report analysed data across multiple e-platforms connecting freelancers with employers.

  • Online Gig Economy Up 26% Over Last Year: Oxford Internet Institute

    Date Published: 9 July 2017

    Source: Spend Matters

    The Oxford Internet Institute recently highlighted a sharp rise in its Online Labour Index, which "measures the utilization of online labor across countries and occupations by tracking the number of projects and tasks in real time."

  • Online Gig Economy Up 26% Over Last Year: Oxford Internet Institute

    Date Published: 9 July 2017

    Source: Spend Matters

    Reporting on recent findings of the Oxford Internet Institute's iLabour Project.

  • Online jobs in gig economy growing fast, finds new index

    Date Published: 22 September 2016

    Source: The Guardian

    Jobs advertised on sites such as as Freelancer.com and PeoplePerHour leapt by 14% since May, says OII's Online Labour index.

  • Forget Uber: Online self-employment gigs are booming in popularity

    Date Published: 22 September 2016

    Source: The Memo

    The total number of new freelance digital jobs in the UK has jumped a huge 14% since May alone, according to new data.

  • Oxford Internet Institute’s iLabour Project Launches Online Labor Index to Measure Gig Economy

    Date Published: 22 September 2016

    Source: Spend Matters

    Oxford University Associate Professor Vili Lehdonvirta and fellow researcher Dr Otto Kässi have announced the public launch of the Online Labour Index (OLI), a first-of-its-kind metric to track utilization of "online labor" in the so-called "gig economy".

  • A third of companies are at ‘full capacity’ and looking to hire

    Date Published: 22 September 2016

    Source: CIPD

    The OII's new Online Labour Index tracks job vacancies listed on sites such as Freelancer and PeoplePerHour, with growth in the UK faster than the rest of Europe and the US.

  • Rise of online work captured in the first Online Labour Index

    Date Published: 21 September 2016

    Source: Phys.org

    Oxford researchers launch the Online Labour Index, which finds US employers are the number one users of the 'online gig economy' (representing 52% of the market) but over the last few months UK employers have been fast catching up.

  • Gig economy on the rise in the UK

    Date Published: 21 September 2016

    Source: IT Pro

    Oxford research reveals 14% increase in on-demand freelance platforms in the UK since May.

  • Rapid increase in ‘gig’ working

    Date Published: 21 September 2016

    Source: HR Magazine

    Researchers at the University of Oxford have launched the Online Labour Index, which gathered data on the online gig economy from sites and apps across the world between May and September 2016.