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Gig Economy: A Dynamic Principal-Agent Model

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  • Zsolt Bihary
  • P'eter Ker'enyi

Abstract

The gig economy, where employees take short-term, project-based jobs, is increasingly spreading all over the world. In this paper, we investigate the employer's and the worker's behavior in the gig economy with a dynamic principal-agent model. In our proposed model the worker's previous decisions influence his later decisions through his dynamically changing participation constraint. He accepts the contract offered by the employer when his expected utility is higher than the irrational valuation of his effort's worth. This reference point is based on wages he achieved in previous rounds. We formulate the employer's stochastic control problem and derive the solution in the deterministic limit. We obtain the feasible net wage of the worker, and the profit of the employer. Workers who can afford to go unemployed and need not take a gig at all costs will realize high net wages. Conversely, far-sighted employers who can afford to stall production will obtain high profits.

Suggested Citation

  • Zsolt Bihary & P'eter Ker'enyi, 2019. "Gig Economy: A Dynamic Principal-Agent Model," Papers 1902.10021, arXiv.org.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1902.10021
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