Chapter 12: The uneven potential of online platform work for human development at the global margins
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Online platform work is increasingly important for workers living in low- and middle-income countries. This chapter investigates the potential for this new economic practice to benefit human development in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, our findings highlight that online platform work brings some benefits, such as improved earning opportunities, stimulating work and increased autonomy, for workers. However, it also represents a risk to the health and wellbeing of these workers as a result of social isolation, overwork, and insecurity. Moreover, the above benefits are spread unevenly due to high-levels of inequality being inherent to this form of work organization. Additionally, access to these benefits may be blocked by discrimination and predatory intermediaries. Online labour platforms also operate outside regulatory and normative frameworks that could provide workers with protections or generate tax revenues to fund development more widely. Data comes from 152 face-to-face semi-structured interviews with workers and stakeholders.

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