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Humans as a ServiceThe Promise and Perils of Work in the Gig Economy$
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Jeremias Prassl

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198797012

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198797012.001.0001

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Work on Demand

Work on Demand

(p.11) 1 Work on Demand
Humans as a Service

Jeremias Prassl

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how the gig economy works. It looks at some of the most important platforms and illustrates their central role in shaping transactions between consumers and workers. Digital work intermediation, in particular, is key to understanding the gig economy: here, platforms’ sophisticated algorithms connect workers and customers, and exercise ongoing control over the ensuing relationships. The chapter then charts the astonishing variety and global growth of the gig economy, with a particular emphasis on how platforms make money, from improved matchmaking to regulatory arbitrage. Finally, this chapter turns to the broader impacts of digital work intermediation, considering how platforms go beyond mere matchmaking to shape the experiences of workers and consumers.

Keywords:   gig economy, digital work intermediation, gig-economy platforms, business models, platform economy, matchmaking, regulatory arbitrage, workers, customers

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