Factors of (dis)Trust Towards Clients on the Online Labor Platforms





labor market, freelancers, trust, digital footprints, machine learning


Trust plays an important role in social and economic interactions. As the internet develops and many of those interactions shift online, it is important to study trust in the new environment. This paper aims to consider the reasons freelancers trust clients on the online labor platforms, as this way of employment becomes increasingly prominent in the labor market. Empirically, the study is based on the “digital traces” of almost half a million messages left by forty thousand of users in seven thousand of contests in 2010-2020 from a major Russian-language online labor platform. The research investigates the text data, utilizing qualitative analysis and machine learning classification of distrust in the messages. We test the model of trust towards clients on the remote labor market with logistic regression, while qualitative text analysis serves to point out the model’s limitations and unquantifiable mechanisms of establishing trust. The article provides the evidences of how the administration can moderate the users’ interactions and the inefficiencies of the reputation systems for labor rights protection. The deficit of the dedicated markers of a client’s trustworthiness forces freelancers to employ alternative mechanisms to ascertain this information. The research results contribute to an understanding of social interactions online and may be useful to improve online platform functioning.

Acknowledgements. The reported study was funded by PFBR, project number 20-011-00587.

Author Biography

Aleksey V. Tyulyupo, HSE University

  • HSE University, Moscow, Russia
    • MA Soc., Research Assistant, Laboratory for Economic and Sociological Research, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences