Sanna started her doctoral studies at The Alan Turing Institute in October 2017. She is registered at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), at the University of Oxford. Before commencing her doctoral studies she worked as the quantitative research lead in an ERC-funded GeoNet project which studies how new economic practices and processes are taking root in Sub-Saharan Africa as a result of changing connectivities. Before joining the OII, Sanna worked with the Digital Engagement team of the World Bank Governance Global Practice and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Strategic Planning and Development Effectiveness Unit. She earned a Master’s Degree from American University’s School of International Service (Washington, DC) in 2013. At SIS she studied international development, governance, and innovative research methods as an ASLA-Fulbright Fellow.
While the informal economy is not a new phenomenon, there is renewed interest in understanding it better, because, contrary to expectations, it has not only persisted, but emerged in new forms and places. In many countries, the persistence of informal economic activities coincides with the development of a digital economy, but little is known about the ways in which these complex digitally-enabled activities relate to the informal economy. Sanna’s research investigates whether accessing work through online platforms may foster new practices of informality or lift individuals out of informality, and how these developments impact inequality, social exclusion, individual well-being, and the government’s ability to collect taxes. Her research interests include digital governance, internet and information geographies, knowledge economies, ICT for development, connectivity, inclusion, and equality.