Labor Market in the Digital Economy Prospects for Regulation

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-10-102-111
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 20.06.2022. Revised 26.07.2022. Accepted 29.07.2022.

Acknowledgment. The article was prepared within the project “Post-crisis world order: challenges and technologies, competition and cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement 075-15-2020-783).

Abstract. The article examines the social problems that arise due to the lack of legal mechanisms for regulating social and labor relations in a digitalizing labor market. The author emphasizes that the main result of the formation of the digital economy was the organizational restructuring of the labor market. The consequence of this is the transformation of traditional enterprises that hire staff on the terms of an employment contract into crowd-working platforms that “serve” an unlimited number of employers and provide them with the “services” of workers for the implementation of certain technological operations. The resulting relations are increasingly fragmented and atomized in comparison with the traditional social and labor relations. The legal form of exercising the employees’ right to work is changing – from hired labor into self-employment. As a result of the ongoing transformations, labor relations are deprived of a social component based on the joint responsibility of employers and employees for the social well-being of the latter. Thus, the main legal and at the same time socioeconomic problem in the context of digitalization of the labor market is the “disappearance” (in the legal sense) of the subject that is responsible for the payment of insurance social contributions of digital (platform) workers. This is one of the main social challenges of the digital economy: it is becoming more difficult to fill social funds in the same volumes, to provide insurance for the employed against major social risks, which ultimately threatens the implementation of the social function of the state. The author emphasizes that the deterioration of the social situation is by no means due to the legal or technological complexity of creating effective mechanisms for regulating the labor market in the context of digitalization, it is an objective phenomenon. The crisis that has developed in the world economy prevents the resolution of legal conflicts arising in the field of employment. The problems of regulation of labor relations and the formation of mechanisms for the implementation of social policy in the context of a digitalizing labor market must be perceived only as separate “mosaic pieces” in a single canvas of social problems of modern society in the period of its transformation. When solving this problem, we can talk about choosing from two possible options: either about the return of relations in the sphere of labor to the field of social relations in the legal sense, or about recreating the state system of social protection of the population, taking into account the possibilities of its customization of the functions of public administration, which are given by the universal digitalization.

Keywords: digital economy, platform employment, gig economy, labor market, employment, regulatory mechanisms for regulating labor relations, precarization


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For citation:
Sadovaya E. Labor Market in the Digital Economy Prospects for Regulation. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 10, pp. 102-111.

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