IGF 2017 WS #60 The Future of Work: Is the Gig Economy Working for Developing Countries?

Short Title: 

The Future of Work in Developing Countries

Proposer's Name: Mr. Galperin Hernan
Proposer's Organization: USC/DIRSI
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Galpaya Helani
Co-Proposer's Organization: Lirneasia
Co-Organizers:
Ms., Helani, GALPAYA, Civil Society, Lirneasia
Mr., Hernan, GALPERIN, Civil Society, USC/DIRSI

Additional Speakers: 

Mona Badran, Civil Society, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University.

Dr. Badran is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics & Political science in Cairo University. She has previously worked as a consultant with Orange R&D Labs in Cairo, and as an economist with Bearing Point a USAID contractor in 2007. She has a wide experience in aspects of economic development measurements and helped in editing several government reports related to the performance of the Egyptian economy. She holds a Ph.D. from CU on competition in Telecom Services a study on LLU, completed her M.A. in Economics at GSU in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. She was awarded the Carol Keels scholarship based on merit from the same university for her achievements in economics, and holds a B.Sc. with high honors, in Economics, from Cairo University.

Agenda: 

The panel will begin with 5 minutes of opening remarks and a brief presentation of the speakers by the moderator. Each panelists will then deliver a short (6 minute) presentation. This will be followed by 10 minutes of questions/answers proposed by the moderator. The moderator will then open the floor for 30 minutes of questions and comments from the audience and remote participants. The last 5 minutes will be used as a wrap-up led by the moderator.


Session Format: Panel - 90 Min

Proposer:
Country: United States
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Co-Proposer:
Country: United States
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Speaker: Galperin Hernan
Speaker: Helani Galpaya
Speaker: Alison Gillwald
Speaker: Valerio DeStefano
Speaker: Jacki O'Neill
Speaker: Sunil Johal
Speaker: Vigneswara P Ilavarasan

Content of the Session:
Digitization and networked communications are increasingly touching all aspects of modern life. Among them is employment, which has served as a key organizing principle for society since the industrial revolution. Currently, a number of forces are reshaping traditional employment, and more generally how labor markets operate. First, advances in artificial intelligence in combination with modern robotics are threatening to automatize jobs that were previously considered too complex for non-human execution. Second, online labor platforms facilitate the unbundling of work into smaller tasks that employers can contract out to freelance workers around the world.

From a development perspective, the digitization of work enables job seekers in poor countries to enter labor markets in rich countries, previously inaccessible due to high communication costs and barriers to labor migration. Virtual labor mobility thus has the potential to raise incomes by decoupling workers from the geographical constraints of local labor demand and improving matching with individual skills. At the same time, online work may erode labor protection standards and unleash a global race to the bottom in wages and workers’ rights. Further, there is evidence that online labor platforms exacerbate the frictions that result in inferior labor outcomes for women, ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged groups.

In sum, there is much that remains to be understood about the digitization of work and its long-term implications for development. This panel seeks to tease out the main questions and present evidence based on current research projects about the future of work in development contexts.


Relevance of the Session:
This session addresses Work in the Digital Age, an emerging issue identified in the IGF 2017 Call for Proposals. It brings current research and relevant stakeholders to discuss how work is changing in the age of AI and the emergence of digital labor platforms, and how different stakeholders (workers, governments, civil society, industry) are responding to these changes.

Tag 1: Digital Work
Tag 2: Internet Economy
Tag 3:

Interventions:
The panel will begin with 5 minutes of opening remarks and a brief presentation of the speakers by the moderator. Each panelists will then deliver a short (8 minute) presentation. This will be followed by 10 minutes of questions/answers proposed by the moderator. The moderator will then open the floor for 30 minutes of questions and comments from the audience and remote participants. The last 5 minutes will be used as a wrap-up led by the moderator.

Diversity:
The selection of panelists seeks to bring contributions from diverse stakeholder perspectives and regions. Helani Galpaya, Alison Gillwald and Hernan Galperin are part of a multi-year, multi-region research project that examines the impact of labor digitization on workers in South Asia, Africa and Latin America respectively. The project collects evidence from household surveys as well as from transactional data collected from online labor platforms, all of which will be presented at the panel.

Vigneswara Ilavarasan is an expert on IT outsourcing and has studied the Indian BPO industry extensively. He combines industry experience with research expertise on the topic. He is based at IIT Delhi.

Sunil Johal was a Director with the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, and is currently Policy Director at The Mowat Centre, an independent public policy think tank located at the University of Toronto, where he studies how governments are adapting social safety programs for the gig economy.

Jacki O’Neill is a Researcher at Microsoft India, and combines industry and research perspectives on how to design appropriate technologies for emerging markets. Her latest work focuses on crowdwork and ‘peer economy’ platforms.

Finally, Valerio de Stefano is a lawyer with the International Labour Office (ILO) who has worked on the adaptation of employment contracts to digital work, and more generally on workers’ rights in the gig economy.

In terms of gender diversity, the panel is roughly balanced (3 female, 4 male panelists). There is also regional diversity, with participants representing Africa, South Asia and Latin America (in addition to Canada and a multilateral organization).


Onsite Moderator: Hernan Galperin
Online Moderator: Andrea Alarcon
Rapporteur: Andrea Alarcon

Online Participation:
Online participation will be promoted in advanced through social media and relevant email lists. The onsite moderator will coordinate with the online moderator to ensure equal participation between onsite and remote participants during open debate. The online moderator will be required to participate in a training session in preparation for the panel.

Discussion facilitation:
As per above, the onsite moderator will promote discussion among panelists, the audience and remote participants. There will be a set of questions projected on the screen to orient the discussion. These questions will emerge from panelists and will be organized by the onsite moderator.

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: Yes
Link to Report: http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/index.php?q=filedepot_download/4098/233

Background Paper