William Kerr, Christopher Stanton, 27 August 2018

Online labour platforms such as Upwork facilitate interactions between employers and employees for a wide range of tasks. This column provides some first evidence on flows and substitution across countries on these new digital platforms. In contrast to classic trade patterns in products, contract placements via Upwork are frequently cross-border and North-South in nature. The findings also suggest that employers leave the platform in response to wage bid increases rather than substituting away from their target search location. Diaspora networks, in particular the Indian diaspora, still matter for how contracts are placed at the global level.

Christopher Stanton, Catherine Thomas, 03 November 2015

Outsourcing labour tasks to lower wage countries has been made much easier by the emergence of global online labour markets. This column argues that there are significant frictions in these markets, making it difficult for workers to get their first job and establish a reputation. However, new types of organisations have emerged that allow the sharing of reputations among groups of high-quality workers. These organisations seem to rely on offline social ties between workers to help reduce information-related trade barriers.

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