IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this book chapter or follow this series

Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda

In: Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy

  • Ajay Agrawal
  • John Horton
  • Nicola Lacetera
  • Elizabeth Lyons

Online contract labor globalizes traditionally local labor markets, with platforms that enable employers, most of whom are in high-income countries, to more easily outsource tasks to contractors, primarily located in low-income countries. This market is growing rapidly; we provide descriptive statistics from one of the leading platforms where the number of hours worked increased 55% from 2011 to 2012, with the 2012 total wage bill just over $360 million. We outline three lines of inquiry in this market setting that are central to the broader digitization research agenda: 1) How will the digitization of this market influence the distribution of economic activity (geographic distribution of work, income distribution, distribution of work across firm boundaries)?; 2) What is the magnitude and nature of information frictions in these digital market settings as reflected by user responses to market design features (allocation of visibility, investments in human capital acquisition, machine-aided recommendations)?; 3) How will the digitization of this market affect social welfare (increased efficiency in matching, production?)? We draw upon economic theory as well as evidence from empirical research on online contract labor markets and other related settings to motivate and contextualize this research agenda.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c12988.pdf
Download Restriction: no

as
in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • Avi Goldfarb & Shane Greenstein & Catherine Tucker, 2015. "Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gree13-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12988.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12988
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Tom Blake & Chris Nosko & Steven Tadelis, 2014. "Consumer Heterogeneity and Paid Search Effectiveness: A Large Scale Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 20171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ajay K. Agrawal & Nicola Lacetera & Elizabeth Lyons, 2013. "Does Information Help or Hinder Job Applicants from Less Developed Countries in Online Markets?," NBER Working Papers 18720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Laura Abramovsky & Rachel Griffith, 2005. "Outsourcing and offshoring of business services: how important is ICT?," IFS Working Papers W05/22, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. David Autor, 2000. "Wiring the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Wheeler, Christopher H, 2001. "Search, Sorting, and Urban Agglomeration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 879-99, October.
    6. Randall Lewis & Justin M. Rao & David H. Reiley, 2013. "Measuring the Effects of Advertising: The Digital Frontier," NBER Working Papers 19520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Dutcher, E. Glenn & Saral, Krista Jabs, 2012. "Does Team Telecommuting Affect Productivity? An Experiment," MPRA Paper 41594, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 12721, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Nicholas Bloom & James Liang & John Roberts & Zhichun Jenny Ying, 2013. "Does working from home work? Evidence from a Chinese experiment," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51525, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Tucker, Catherine & Zhang, Juanjuan, 2007. "Long Tail or Steep Tail? A Field Investigation into How Online Popularity Information Affects the Distribution of Customer Choices," Working papers 39811, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    11. Wilde, Louis L, 1981. "Information Costs, Duration of Search, and Turnover: Theory and Applications," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(6), pages 1122-41, December.
    12. Stéphanie Peltier & Fran�ois Moreau, 2012. "Internet and the ‘Long Tail versus superstar effect’ debate: evidence from the French book market," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(8), pages 711-715, May.
    13. Marc Rysman, 2009. "The Economics of Two-Sided Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 125-43, Summer.
    14. Hyunyoung Choi & Hal Varian, 2012. "Predicting the Present with Google Trends," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 88(s1), pages 2-9, 06.
    15. Manishi Prasad & Peter Wahlqvist & Rich Shikiar & Ya-Chen Tina Shih, 2004. "A," PharmacoEconomics, Springer Healthcare | Adis, vol. 22(4), pages 225-244.
    16. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya & T. N. Srinivasan, 2004. "The Muddles over Outsourcing," International Trade 0408004, EconWPA.
    17. Ejaz Ghani & William R. Kerr & Christopher T. Stanton, 2012. "Diasporas and Outsourcing: Evidence from oDesk and India," NBER Working Papers 18474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Heski Bar‐Isaac & Guillermo Caruana & Vicente Cuñat, 2012. "Information Gathering Externalities for a Multi‐Attribute Good," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 162-185, 03.
    19. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
    20. Roy Mill, 2011. "Hiring and Learning in Online Global Labor Markets," Working Papers 11-17, NET Institute, revised Oct 2011.
    21. Christopher Stanton & Catherine Thomas, 2012. "Landing the first job: the value of intermediaries in online hiring," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59069, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    22. Coles, Peter Andrew & Levine, Phillip B. & Roth, Alvin E. & Cawley, John & Niederle, Muriel & Siegfried, John J., 2010. "The Job Market for New Economists: A Market Design Perspective," Scholarly Articles 5343168, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    23. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12988. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.