The "digital revolution" offers both new opportunities as well as new challenges. It means different things to different economic agents. To firms, new technologies – AI, machine learning and other computer-based technologies – can generate increased profitability, consumer satisfaction and productivity. To consumers, the digital economy increases the convenience of market transactions, expands information sets and improves access to more and better products and services at lower prices. To workers, the digital transformation can mean new job opportunities in emerging sectors, greater flexibility in how and when to work and increased information about job opportunities. It can also represent a threat to established workflows and many forms of human capital. It may liberate workers from the constraints of the employment relationship but may also deprive them of traditional access to social insurance, collective bargaining and employment protection.
The digital economy has created new market platforms on which transactions can be executed. It involves the creation of new and weightless goods and services produced at near zero marginal costs and supplied to the market in radically new ways - either “free” (in exchange for the users' data) or at prices disturbingly close to each individual's marginal valuation. Valuation of these innovations is difficult with traditional GDP-accounting-based methods, but also may represent the new explanation of the global productivity slowdown. This deep and rapid transformation raises many analytical and policy questions. How are these changes affecting our traditional way to measures of productivity and value added? In particular, have we underestimated the value of these innovations? Do national income and product accounts need to be revised to reflect these alleged deficiencies? What do these innovations imply for long-run labor productivity, wages, employment, and the functional distribution of income? What is the balance between opportunities and costs of the digital transformation for workers, and how does the balance change across different socio-economic groups and across countries? Building on the very successful first joint OECD-IZA Workshop, we particularly encourage submissions of papers that provide good theory or empirical evidence on the following topics:
- Technical progress over the long run and its labor market effects
- Uneven adoption of ITC technologies across the OECD countries, and the impact on growth and labor productivity
- Effects of digital technologies on the demand for labor and wage structures
- Digital innovations and job search processes
- Impact of the platform economy on working conditions, wages and access to social protection systems, as well as on tax collection