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Journal Articles Digital Geography and Society Year : 2024

The challenges of gig economy and Fairwork in Ecuador


The evolution of the collaborative economy depends on market-specific prerequisites, such as a consumer base with purchasing power, accessible Internet connectivity, digitised payment mechanisms and new regulatory frameworks. However, countries located in the Global South, such as Ecuador, face challenges in adapting to these requirements due to the presence of infrastructure deficiencies, shortcomings in the local financial ecosystem and regulatory gaps, which impede the maturation of digital industries. However, the unprecedented global economic upheaval stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the imposition of international lockdowns and social distancing mandates, has precipitated the unbridled proliferation of digital platforms and the gig economy. In this unregulated environment, platform workers face intricate labour rights dynamics, marked by income volatility, scarce benefits and an environment rife with precarity and exploitative conditions. This paper aims to answer how the gig economy was installed and developed in Ecuador before and during the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. More specifically, we will try to answer the question of what have been the main challenges and barriers faced by platform workers and platforms in adhering to Fairwork principles in an unregulated context. Based on more than seventy semi-structured interviews and ethnographic material collected between 2020 and 2021, we provide an overview of Ecuador's gig economy and an in-depth examination of the institutional, regulatory, and organisational landscape characterising this country in order to identify the main challenges and obstacles to establishing and enforcing fair work standards. This analysis helped us understand the difficulties in implementing Fairwork principles and come up with practical suggestions for policy and regulation improvements in Ecuador and similar situations.
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hal-04396434 , version 1 (03-06-2024)




María Belén Albornoz, Henry Chávez. The challenges of gig economy and Fairwork in Ecuador. Digital Geography and Society, 2024, 6, pp.100073. ⟨10.1016/j.diggeo.2023.100073⟩. ⟨hal-04396434⟩
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