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Collective Action and Governance in an Online Piecework Economy

Michael Bernstein, Margaret Levi 2016 - 2017

Collective Action and Governance in an Online Piecework Economy

The digital gig economy has led to a resurgence of piecework. Without shared factories and water coolers, how do digital pieceworkers coordinate, build solidarity, and take collective action? We will engage in fieldwork with digital pieceworkers who work in data entry, domestic services, and on-­demand driving to understand how they counter algorithmic systems and engage in collective behavior. We will then design and launch a new collectively-governed platform for gig workers. Our goal is to both understand the factors that drive collective behavior in distributed gig platforms, and to introduce new designs and infrastructure that enable the growth of worker collective action in the digital piecework (gig) economy. Our results shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of digital piecework cooperativism, as well as the policies necessary for it to succeed.

Publications:
Ali Alkhatib, Michael S. Bernstein, and Margaret Levi. 2017. Examining Crowd Work and Gig Work Through The Historical Lens of Piecework. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 4599-4616. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025974

Researchers

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Michael Bernstein

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Michael Bernstein

Assistant Professor, Computer Science
Michael Bernstein is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he is a member of the Human-Computer Interaction group. His research focuses on the design of crowdsourcing and social computing systems. This work has received seven Best Paper awards and fourteen honorable mentions at premier venues in human-computer interaction. Michael has been recognized as a Robert N. Noyce Family Faculty Scholar, and has received an NSF CAREER award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and Outstanding Academic Title citation from the American Library Association. He holds a bachelor's degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, and a master's and Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT.
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Margaret Levi

Director at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS)
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Margaret Levi

Director at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS)
Professor, Poltical Science
Margaret Levi is the Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford and Professor of Political Science, Stanford University, and Jere L. Bacharach Professor Emerita of International Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. She has been a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University. She held the Chair in Politics, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, 2009-13. At the University of Washington she was director of the CHAOS (Comparative Historical Analysis of Organizations and States) Center and formerly the Harry Bridges Chair and Director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies. She earned her BA from Bryn Mawr College in 1968 and her PhD from Harvard University in 1974, the year she joined the faculty of the University of Washington. She became a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, the American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), inducted 2017, the American Academy of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in 2002. She served as president of the American Political Science Association from 2004 to 2005. She is the recipient of the 2014 William H. Riker Prize for Political Science.