Book: The Platform Livelihoods Project

Digital platforms are changing how individuals around the world find and do work, and how entrepreneurs, small enterprises and smallholder farmers connect with markets. Platform Livelihoods Project, represented by the eleven studies appearing in this volume, and more to follow in 2024, set out to explore two broad questions:

  • What are the experiences of individual workers and sellers as they rely on platforms to earn a living? and,
  • What are the opportunities to improve those experiences?

The project uses a frame significantly broader than ‘gig work’ alone, defining platform livelihoods as the ways people earn a living by working, trading, renting, and creating in digital marketplaces.

The Platform Livelihoods Project was coordinated by Caribou Digital, and involved more than 40 contributing authors and researchers, affiliated with institutions including: DFS Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology, Habitus Insight, inABLE, Kilimo Source, Lagos Business School, Learn.Ink, Northumbria University, Qhala, RISE (Riset Inovasi dan Edukasi) Indonesia, Story × Design, University of Ghana, and Value for Women.

In aggregate, the projects in the book, conducted between 2018 and 2023, involved more than 700 qualitative interviews, 140 survey respondents, 70 expert interviews, 16 platform case studies, and 70 video profiles (mostly self-shot). These studies were conducted in Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Each interview and story is both a unique experience, and a glimpse into the experiences of millions more people around the world, earning a living on/in/via digital marketplaces and social media platforms.

The book will be available for purchase and for open-access download in April 2024. 

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The Platform Livelihoods Project

Caribou Digital and Jonathan Donner, eds., 

(Farnham, Surrey, UK: Caribou Digital Publishing, 2024), https://www.cariboudigital.net/platform-livelihoods-book/.

Contributors

Foreword

  1. The platform livelihoods project
  2. Micro-entrepreneurs in a platform era
  3. Platform-led upskilling
  4. Platform livelihoods: An evidence review
  5. Platform livelihoods & COVID-19
  6. Platform livelihoods: Working, trading, renting, and creating in digital marketplaces in Kenya
  7. Social agriculture
  8. Women in the platform economy
  9. Platform livelihoods and youth with disabilities 
  10. How many people have platform livelihoods? 
  11. The platform livelihoods of influencers 
  12. Platform-enabled financial services 
  13. Investing in inclusive platform livelihoods 

References