Size of Gig Economy Overestimated, Experts Say

January 11, 2019

Researchers who previously led the charge in considering the gig economy to be a growing phenomenon have published a new paper reconsidering their views.

High numbers reevaluated:  Princeton’s Alan Krueger told The Wall Street Journal that he and co-author Lawrence Katz of Harvard found “there was a modest rise in the share of the workforce in nontraditional jobs over the last decade—probably on the order of one to two percentage points, instead of the five percentage point rise we originally reported.”

Behind the data:  The latest recession and bad data skewed their previous study, say the researchers.  In today’s better economy, workers are opting for more traditional work relationships despite the availability of gig work app platforms such as Uber and Handy.

So what?  It remains to be seen whether interest groups looking to regulate the gig economy will slow down in light of the new findings.  But regardless of whether more workers are using apps to generate income, the digitization of the workplace has deep implications for the employment relationship.  This year we will almost certainly see congressional hearings and potential legislation on these issues.