Internet Geographer

Digital Labour / The Gig Economy

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My Research on Digital labour and the gig economy

I have spent the last few years investigating the implications of new types of digital labour for workers in the Global South. This research is ongoing in my team's work on virtual production networks, and outsourcing and microwork. At the moment, the tens of millions of workers who do digital work do so in a largely unregulated and socially disembedded way. This clearly benefits some workers, but we should also worry about a race to the bottom occurring as ever more people come online.


current collaborators

Amir Anwar, Alex Wood, Sanna Ojanperä, Fabian Braesemann, Richard Heeks, Fabian Ferrari, Sandy Fredman, Darcy Du Toit, Jean Paul Van Belle



Graham, M., and Anwar, M. A. 2019. The Global Gig Economy: Towards a Planetary Labour Market? First Monday. 24(4).

Woodcock, J. and Graham, M. 2019. The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction, Cambridge: Polity.

Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, A., and Hjorth, I. 2019. Networked but Commodified: The (Dis)Embeddedness of Digital Labour in the Gig Economy. Sociology.

Wood, A., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, A., and Hjorth, I. 2019. Good Gig, Bad Big: Autonomy and Algorithmic Control in the Global Gig Economy. Work, Employment and Society. 33(1). 56-75

Anwar, M. A., and Graham, M. 2019. Does economic upgrading lead to social upgrading in contact centers? Evidence from South Africa. African Geographical Review. DOI: 10.1080/19376812.2019.1589730

Graham, M. and Anwar, M.A. 2018. Digital Labour In: Digital Geographies Ash, J., Kitchin, R. and Leszczynski, A. (eds.). Sage: London. 177-187.

Graham, M. and Anwar, M. A. 2018. Two Models for a Fairer Sharing Economy. In Davidson, N. M., Finck, M., Infranca, J. J. (eds). The Law of the Sharing Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 316-327.

Wood, A., Lehdonvirta, V., and Graham, M. 2018. Workers of the Internet unite? Online freelancer organisation among remote gig economy workers in six Asian and African countries. New Technology, Work and Employment. 33(2). 95-112. 10.1111/ntwe.12112. (pre-publication version here)

Graham, M. and Woodcock, J. 2018. Towards a Fairer Platform Economy: Introducing the Fairwork Foundation. Alternate Routes. 29. 242-253.

Ojanperä, S, O'Clery, N, and Graham, M. 2018. Data science, artificial intelligence and the futures of work. Alan Turing Institute Report. October 24.

Lehdonvirta, V., Kässi, O., Hjorth, I., Barnard, H., and Graham, M. 2018. The Global Platform Economy: A New Offshoring Institution Enabling Emerging-Economy MicroprovidersJournal of Management.

Graham, M and Shaw, J. (eds). 2017. Towards a Fairer Gig Economy. London: Meatspace Press. (also translated into Italian)

Graham, M., Hjorth, I., Lehdonvirta, V. 2017. Digital labour and development: impacts of global digital labour platforms and the gig economy on worker livelihoods. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research. 23 (2) 135-162.

Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Wood, A., Barnard, H., Hjorth, I., and Simon, D. P. 2017. The Risks and Rewards of Online Gig Work At the Global Margins. Oxford: Oxford Internet Institute. 

other writings

Graham, M., Englert, S., and Woodcock, J. 2019. Holding platforms accountable to digital workers’ rightsNew Internationalist. May 01, 2019.

Graham, M., Ferrari, F., and Woodcock, J. 2019. Plattformökonomie braucht Mindeststandards. Der Tagesspiegel. Apr 15, 2019.

Gillwald, A., Graham, M., Englert, S., van der Spuy, A., and Woodcock, J. 2019. Fairwork exposes exploitation in gig economy amid regulatory vacuum. Business Day (South Africa). Apr 11, 2019.

Wood, A. J. and Graham, M. 2019. Networked but commodified: digital labour in the remote gig economyNew Internationalist. Feb 28, 2019.

Woodcock, J., and Graham, M. 2019. How can we better regulate digital platform capitalism to protect workers? LabourList. Feb 22, 2019.

Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, L., Wood., A., Barnard, H., and Hjorth, I. 2018. Could Online Gig Work Drive Development in Lower-income Countries? In Galperin, H., and Alarcon, A. The Future of Work in the Global South. Ottawa: IDRC. 8-11.

Graham, M. 2018. The Rise of the Planetary Labour Market. New Statesman. Jan 29, 2018. (republished in Technosphere, The Invisible Worker, and the RSA’s Field Guide to the Future of Work)

Wood, A. J. and Graham, M. 2018. Can African and Asian workers challenge exploitation in the gig economy? New Internationalist. Aug 8, 2018.

Wood, A.J. and Graham, M. 2018. The government consultation on employment classification and control: a response. Response to the UK Government open consultation on employment status. Feb 7, 2018.

Graham, M. 2018. The UK universities strike is the frontline of the gig economy fight. Wired. Mar 12, 2018.

Wood, A., and Graham,M. 2017. Virtual Monopolies and The Workers' Voice. iai News. Sept 4, 2017.

Graham, M. and Wood, A. 2017. Has the Taylor Review now clarified the status of workers in the gig economy? University of Oxford Medium. Jul 18, 2017

Graham, M. and Wood, A. 2017. How to resist the exploitation of digital gig workersRed Pepper. Apr 14, 2017

Wood, A., Graham, M., Anwar, M. A., Ramizo, G. 2017. Minimum wages on online labour platforms. Oxford Internet Institute.

Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Barnard, H., Wood, A., Hjorth, I., Azarhoosh, K., and Simon, D. 2017. Written evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into self-employment and the gig economy.

Graham, M. 2016. Let’s make platform capitalism more accountableNew Internationalist. Dec 13, 2016

Graham, M. and Wood, A. 2016. Why the digital gig economy needs co-ops and unions. openDemocracy. Sept 15, 2016

Graham, M. 2016. Digital work marketplaces impose a new balance of power. New Internationalist.May 25, 2016

Graham, M. 2016. Organising the Digital "Wild West": Can Strategic Bottlenecks Help Prevent a Race to the Bottom for Online Workers? Union Solidarity International. May 11, 2016 (also translated into Turkish)

Graham, M. 2016. Digital Work and the Global Precariat. Union Solidarity International. Mar 30, 2016

Graham, M. 2015. Digital Work Signals a Global Race to the Bottom. SciDevNet Sept 15, 2015