How Much Do Platform Workers Value Reviews? An Experimental Method

David M. Holtz, Liane Scult , Siddharth Suri

CHI '22: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
April 28, 2022

Abstract: Previous qualitative work has documented that platform workers place an immense importance on their reputation due to the use of algorithmic management by online labor platforms. We provide a general experimental method, which can be used across platforms and time, for numerically quantifying the intensity with which platform workers experience reputation system-based algorithmic management. Our method works via an experiment where workers choose between a monetary bonus or a positive review. We demonstrate this method by measuring the value that freelancers assigned to positive feedback on Upwork in June 2020. The median freelancer in our sample valued a single positive review at ∼ $49 USD. We also find that less experienced freelancers valued a positive review more highly than those with more experience. Qualitative data collected during the experiment indicates that many freelancers considered issues related to reputation system-based algorithmic management while choosing between the monetary reward and the positive review.

Featured Fellows

David Holtz

Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate