Crowdworker Economics in the Gig Economy

Conference Object
Change log

The nature of work is changing. As labor increasingly trends to casual work in the emerging gig economy, understanding the broader economic context is crucial to effective engage- ment with a contingent workforce. Crowdsourcing represents an early manifestation of this fluid, laisser-faire, on-demand workforce. This work analyzes the results of four large-scale surveys of US-based Amazon Mechanical Turk workers recorded over a six-year period, providing compa- rable measures to national statistics. Our results show that despite unemployment far higher than national levels, crowd- workers are seeing positive shifts in employment status and household income. Our most recent surveys indicate a trend away from full-time-equivalent crowdwork, coupled with a reduction in estimated poverty levels to below national figures. These trends are indicative of an increasingly flexible workforce, able to maximize their opportunities in a rapidly changing national labor market, which may have material impacts on existing models of crowdworker behavior.

crowdsourcing, unemployment, income, poverty
Journal Title
Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Conference Name
CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019)
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
EPSRC (1198)
EPSRC (via University of St Andrews) (11780)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R004471/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N010558/1)
This work was supported by an EPSRC studentship and EPSRC grants EP/N010558/1 and EP/R004471/1.
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