Vili Lehdonvirta

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Vili Lehdonvirta

Professor of Economic Sociology and Digital Social Research, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Vili Lehdonvirta is Professor of Economic Sociology and Digital Social Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. From April to September 2020 he was a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Innovation Research, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo.

Lehdonvirta is an economic sociologist whose research focuses on digital technologies, such as apps, platforms, and marketplaces — how they are governed, how they shape the organization of economic activities, and with what implications to workers, consumers, businesses, and policy. His research has been published in the Journal of Management, New Media & Society, Sociology, and other leading academic journals.

Lehdonvirta is the principal investigator of iLabour, a major research project on online freelancing and the gig economy, funded by the European Research Council. He also leads research projects on online labour markets’ effects in rural areas and crowdworkers’ skill development. His other recent research takes a critical look at Bitcoin and blockchain. His previous research on virtual goods, virtual consumption and digital games is summarized in Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis, published by MIT Press and translated to Chinese by China Renmin University Press.

Lehdonvirta’s research draws on theories and approaches from economic sociology, new institutional economics, labour sociology, and science and technology studies. He and his students and postdoctoral researchers use a range of conventional social research methods as well as novel data science approaches. Lehdonvirta sits on the editorial boards of the journals Policy & Internet, The Information Society, Electronic Commerce Research and the Journal of International Business Policy.

Lehdonvirta is a Hugh Price Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, an associate member of the Department of Sociology, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, London, where he co-convenes the Protocol Governance interest group. Lehdonvirta holds a PhD in Economic Sociology from the University of Turku (2009) and a MSc from the Helsinki University of Technology (2005). Previously he worked at the London School of Economics, the University of Tokyo, and the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. Before his academic career, he worked as a game programmer.

Lehdonvirta has advised companies, policy makers, and international organizations in Europe, United States, and Japan. He is a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on the Online Platform Economy and the High-Level Expert Group on Digital Transformation and EU Labour Markets. His research has been covered by The Economist, The Guardian, Washington Post, Die Zeit, Le Monde, NHK World, and other popular media around the world.

Research Interests

Digital economy | Platform economy | Sharing economy | Network economy | Crowdsourcing | Electronic markets | Reputation systems | Peer production | Future of work | Future of organizing | Freelancing | Skills | Labour relations | Governance | Regulation | Digital Single Market | Europe | Southeast Asia | Japan


Areas of interest for doctoral supervision

All of Vili's stated research interests, from sociological, organization studies, and new institutional economics (transaction cost economics) perspectives

Current doctoral students:

  • Godofredo Ramizo Jr
  • Julian Albert
  • Odysseas Sclavounis
  • Sumin Lee