Co-operatives, Work, and the Digital Economy: A Knowledge Synthesis Report

G. de Peuter, G. de Verteuil, and S. Machaka (2022) Co-operatives, Work, and the Digital Economy: A Knowledge Synthesis Report. Submitted to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Knowledge Synthesis Program, Skills and Work in the Digital Economy. Cultural Workers Organize (126 pp.).

The idea of platform cooperativism has raised the profile of co-operatives within tech communities and heightened the interest in digital technology within the co-operative movement. In this report, we survey recent literature on the formation of co-operatives as a strategy to improve work and livelihoods in the digital economy. 

Co-operatives, Work, and the Digital Economy is guided by questions such as: What groups of workers have turned to the co-operative model in the digital economy? Do co-operatives have the capacity to mitigate precarity, deepen worker engagement, and combat inequality in the gig economy, tech sector, and digital creative industries? If co-ops are a promising means to improve livelihoods and democratize work, what are the obstacles to increasing their uptake? And what initiatives and policies have been advanced to foster co-operative infrastructure in the digital age? 

The report is accompanied by an evidence brief summarizing key findings and policy recommendations.

Introduction // Ch. 1: Problems of work and the promise of co-operatives // Ch. 2: Conceptualizing co-operation in the digital age // Ch. 3: Contours of co-operation // Ch. 4: Challenges of co-operation // Ch. 5: Co-operative infrastructure // Ch. 6: Co-operative ownership paradigms // Ch. 7: Limitations and connections // Ch. 8: Suggestions for future research // Ch. 9: Policy recommendations // List of sources // Appendix: Digital co-ops in Canada: Snapshots



Report design: Tara Campbell and Tieni Meninato
Report images: Stocksy United
Feature image: Goce Ilievski

Co-operatives, Work, and the Digital Economy is co-funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Government of Canada’s Future Skills program.