Summary of Workers and the Online Gig Economy

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What effect will the continued expansion of a digital, on-demand “gig” economy have upon employment and government regulation? In this succinct, well-researched article, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Jane Dokko and Megan Mumford of The Hamilton Project explore why contingent labor is on the rise in the United States. They dissect concerns for worker welfare, and look at the reasons why more up-to-date and nuanced regulation is necessary to safeguard both workers and employers. getAbstract recommends this evaluation to policy makers, business owners and those employed in the gig economy.

About the Authors

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach is director, Jane Dokko is policy director and Megan Mumford is a research assistant at The Hamilton Project, which drafts policy proposals on improving the US economy.



Technological progress and an increase in the number of workers looking for employment in the aftermath of the 2008 Great Recession have given rise to a digital, on-demand “gig” economy. In this labor environment, employers can offer and workers can accept work with no obligation, on either side, to continue the employment relationship once the job is complete. Current survey numbers vary when it comes to determining the exact number of Americans working as contingent laborers, but given the “rising consumer demand” for such...

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