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Labour market effects of crowdwork in the US and EU: an empirical investigation

Michele Cantarella () and Chiara Strozzi ()

Center for Economic Research (RECent) from University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi"

Abstract: Does working on online labour markets have an impact on earnings and working conditions? Do crowdworkers involved in micro-task outsourcing differ in their characteristics from traditional salaried workers of similar ability? Are micro-task crowdworkers similar or different in United States and in Europe? In this paper, we address these questions by comparing outcomes in working quality between online-platform and traditional workers across the United States and Europe in a quasi-experimental approach, exploiting caregiving as an exogenous source of variation influencing participation in crowdwork rounds across the female population. We find evidence that, when controlling for workers’ observed and unobserved ability, traditional workers retain a significant premium in their earnings with respect to platform workers, though this effect is not as large as descriptive statistics may hint. Moreover, labour force in crowdworking arrangements appears to suffer from high levels of under-utilisation, relegating crowdworkers into a new category of idle workers whose human capital is neither fully utilised nor adequately compensated.

Keywords: crowdwork; platform economy; micro-tasks; digitalisation; working conditions. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-12
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