Employment, Work, and Value Creation in the Era of Digital Platforms


This paper considers the implications of the increasing adoption of digital platforms for work and value creation. To do this we develop a taxonomy not of types of platforms but the types of work and value creation. In this way, we show that platforms are far more prevalent and structuring of societal value creation than most of the literature indicates. To confirm this we introduce a taxonomy of work and value creation in the platform economy.

Our taxonomy defines main groups into which one can separate individuals creating value for the digital platforms. Although our focus is work, we do not confine ourselves to digital labor market platforms that have attracted so much attention from those interested in "sharing economy" firms or those providing remote gig worker. This focus has resulted in authors dramatically understating the impact of platforms. Such labor platforms are only a small part of the larger story that is more complex and more significant. The under-estimation of the importance can be seen by the recent focus upon the impacts of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. But also consideration of the role of platforms such as Yelp and Booking.com. These also structure capitalist competition and, by extension, value creation and capture and how workers are treated.

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Publication date: 
August 7, 2019
Publication type: 
Working Paper
Kenney, Martin and Rouvinen, Petri and Zysman, John, Employment, Work, and Value Creation in the Era of Digital Platforms (August 2, 2019). In Digital Work and the Platform Economy: Understanding Tasks, Skills and Capabilities in the New Era Eds. Poutanen, S., Kovalainen, S. and Rouvinen, P. Routledge Forthcoming., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3431473