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Undeclared activities on digital labour platforms: an exploratory study

Mara Mațcu (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Iasi, Romania)
Adriana Zaiț (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Iasi, Romania)
Rodica Ianole-Călin (Faculty of Business and Administration, University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania)
Ioana Alexandra Horodnic (Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Iasi, Romania)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 27 September 2022

37

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the prevalence of undeclared activities conducted on digital labour platforms, and then to discuss what policies are likely to be more effective in order to prevent the growth of the informal activities on these platforms.

Design/methodology/approach

To depict the profile of the digital worker conducting undeclared activities, the sectors where undeclared activities are more prevalent and the effectiveness of deterrent policies, data are reported from 2019 Special Eurobarometer survey covering the European Union member states and the UK.

Findings

The finding is that 13% of undeclared activities are conducted on digital labour platforms. This practice is more common amongst men, those married or remarried, those living in small/middle towns, in sectors such as repairs/renovations, selling goods/services, assistance for dependant persons, gardening and help moving house. The higher the perceived sanction, the lower the likelihood of undertaking undeclared activities on digital labour platforms. Intriguing, a higher risk of detection is associated with a higher likelihood to use digital labour platform for undeclared activities.

Practical implications

The attitudes toward risk can be interpreted closer to the gaming context, and not to the working environment, looking at platform workers as being involved in a state versus individual game. Policy makers should consider improving the correspondence of laws and regulations between countries and offering operational assistance for suppliers and consumers.

Originality/value

This is the first paper to explore the prevalence of undeclared activities conducted on digital labour platforms and to outline the policy measures required to reduce this practice.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This work was supported by a grant of the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization, CNCS/CCCDI – UEFISCDI, project number PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-0229, within PNCDI III.

Citation

Mațcu, M., Zaiț, A., Ianole-Călin, R. and Horodnic, I.A. (2022), "Undeclared activities on digital labour platforms: an exploratory study", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-07-2022-0186

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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