Politics and the Future of Work in Middle-Income Countries (PolDigWork)

How Hopes and Fears about Digitalization Shape Opinions on Social and Labour Policies

PolDigWork Team Photo

Project description

In an era of rapid technological advancement, the digitalization of work has emerged as a pivotal force shaping economies and societies worldwide. New forms of digitalization and automation reshape how society 'works'. Innovations such as bots and robots change the nature of work and create new types of employment (e.g. gig work) and economic sectors. They also destroy existing jobs, automatizing tasks and making whole branches of the economy redundant. Social and political scientists begin to understand the processes and outcomes of this transformation in advanced industrialized countries. Especially for middle-income countries, however, we still know relatively little about the political consequences of the future of work. This research project delves into the exciting realm of digitalization and its profound impact on the future of work in Middle-Income Countries. Covering three different continents, the project will explore the impact of digitalization on the future of work, with a specific focus on a nested case study of Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico. We ask how key stakeholders and ordinary citizens see technological change. Are they afraid of negative consequences such as automation, or do they see technologies like AI rather as opportunities for work?

Research area: Development and Socio-Economic Policies  


Digitalization and the Future of Work in Middle-Income Countries (PolDigWork) – Mexico, Indonesia and South Africa Read more
Dr. Gift Mwonzora and Viddy Ranawijaya
Welcome, Dr. Gift Mwonzora and Viddy Ranawijaya! Read more
PolDigWork Workshop
Workshop on the Future of Work in Mexico (Research Project PolDigWork) Learn more
Digital elections no magic remedy for Zimbabwe's blighted democracy Read more
The First Publication of the PolDigWork Project Investigates Attitudes Toward New Technologies in Ghana Read more
New research project on the political consequences of digitalization on the labor market of emerging economies Learn more
Digitalization and the Welfare State
New edited volume: "Digitalization and the Welfare State" Read more





Kemmerling, A., Altamirano, M. & Rosales, Ma. S. (2023). THE FUTURE OF WORK IN MEXICO: Exploring Key Actors’ Perceptions on the Socio-Economic and Policy Implications of Workplace Transformations. With the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. (Spanish version)

Awuni, E.T., & Kemmerling, A. (2023). Taking Gerschenkron to the Field: Attitudes toward Digitalization Hopes and Fears about the Future of Work in Ghana. Telecommunications Policy, 102680.

Iversen, T. & Rehm, P. (2022). Commissioned Book Review: Big Data and the Welfare State: How the Information Revolution Threatens Social Solidarity, Political Studies Review

Busemeyer, M., Marx, P., Kemmerling, A. &  van Kersbergen K. (eds.) (2022). Digitalization and the Welfare State. Oxford University Press.

Kemmerling, A.,  Gast Zepeda, S. & Volkmann, S. (2020). On labour market impact of COVID-19.

Häusermann, S.,  Rueda, D. &  Kemmerling, A. (2019): Special Issue on New Labour Market Divides in Political Science Research Methods 8(2)
Introduction: How Labor Market Inequality Transforms Mass Politics (with Silja Häusermann and David Rueda), pp. 344-355. 

Blog Posts

Researchers under the PolDigWork project continue to translate academic and policy research into easy-to-read material for the general public. Here Evans Awuni and Gift Mwonzora, Research Fellows under the WBS dive deep into looking at how digital technologies are perceived by Ghanaians specifically looking at whether they feel these technologies are changing the future of work, or not: https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/africaatlse/2023/11/27/ghanaians-are-optimistic-that-new-digital-technologies-will-improve-their-lives/

Gift Mwonzora explores the efficacy of digital technologies in elections but cautions against treating digitalising elections as the panacea to electoral malfeasance in African countries utilising the Zimbabwean case study. https://theloop.ecpr.eu/digital-elections-no-magic-remedy-for-zimbabwes-blighted-democracy/