Measuring the impacts of labor in the platform economy: new work created, old work reorganized, and value creation reconfigured

Abstract: 

Though economists have examined labor displacement due to digitization, few have considered the new work and value created. Unlike employment relations that brought workers together on the assembly line or in an office in a previous era, platforms enable a greater, more dispersed, and complex division of labor. New and reconfigured types of labor enabled by platforms create identification and measurement challenges. Previous studies of platforms invariably focused on specific organizational forms such as sharing or gigs. They built taxonomies based on the platform's organization – few considered the scope and scale of platform-enabled value creation. To better understand changing labor arrangements in the 21st century, this article introduces a taxonomy to systematically understand work, employment, and value creation in the platform economy. We consider all of the platform-enabled value creation activities including old work displaced or reorganized to new work created. We provide suggestive evidence for the utility of our framework through case studies of Etsy and Amazon Self-Publishing in the United States

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Publication date: 
May 1, 2019
Publication type: 
Journal Article
Citation: 
Dafna Bearson, Martin Kenney, John Zysman, Measuring the impacts of labor in the platform economy: new work created, old work reorganized, and value creation reconfigured, Industrial and Corporate Change, 2020;, dtaa046, https://doi.org/10.1093/icc/dtaa046