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Monopsony in Online Labor Markets

Author

Listed:
  • Arindrajit Dube
  • Jeff Jacobs
  • Suresh Naidu
  • Siddharth Suri

Abstract

On-demand labor platforms make up a large part of the “gig economy.” We quantify the extent of monopsony power in one of the largest on-demand labor platforms, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), by measuring the elasticity of labor supply facing the requester (employer) using both observational and experimental variation in wages. We isolate plausibly exogenous variation in rewards using a double-machine-learning estimator applied to a large dataset of scraped MTurk tasks. We also re-analyze data from 5 MTurk experiments that randomized payments to obtain corresponding experimental estimates. Both approaches yield uniformly low labor supply elasticities, around 0.1, with little heterogeneity.

Suggested Citation

  • Arindrajit Dube & Jeff Jacobs & Suresh Naidu & Siddharth Suri, 2018. "Monopsony in Online Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 24416, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24416
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas O. Staiger & Joanne Spetz & Ciaran S. Phibbs, 2010. "Is There Monopsony in the Labor Market? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 211-236, April.
    2. John Horton & David Rand & Richard Zeckhauser, 2011. "The online laboratory: conducting experiments in a real labor market," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 399-425, September.
    3. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil & Löffler, Max, 2016. "Asymmetric labor-supply responses to wage-rate changes: Evidence from a field experiment," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-006, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    4. Fosgerau, Mogens & Melo, Emerson & Shum, Matt, 2017. "Discrete Choice and Rational Inattention: a General Equivalence Result�," MPRA Paper 76605, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Peter Kuhn, 2004. "Is monopsony the right way to model labor markets? a review of Alan Manning's monopsony in motion," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 369-378.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Filippo Belloc, 2019. "Why Isn't Uber Worker-Managed? A Model of Digital Platform Cooperatives," CESifo Working Paper Series 7708, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Erik Snowberg & Leeat Yariv, 2018. "Testing the Waters: Behavior across Participant Pools," CESifo Working Paper Series 7136, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Benson, Alan & Sojourner, Aaron J. & Umyarov, Akhmed, 2015. "Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 9501, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Snowberg, Erik & Yariv, Leeat, 2018. "Testing the Waters: Behavior across Participant Pools," CEPR Discussion Papers 13015, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. David Berger & Kyle Herkenhoff & Simon Mongey, 2018. "Labor Market Power," 2018 Meeting Papers 170, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Kevin Rinz, 2018. "Labor Market Concentration, Earnings Inequality, and Earnings Mobility," CARRA Working Papers 2018-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Sokolova, Anna & Sorensen, Todd A., 2018. "Monopsony in Labor Markets: A Meta-Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 11966, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Ransom, Tyler, 2019. "Labor Market Frictions and Moving Costs of the Employed and Unemployed," IZA Discussion Papers 12139, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Cantarella, Michele & Strozzi, Chiara, 2019. "Workers in the Crowd: The Labour Market Impact of the Online Platform Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 12327, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Luke Petach & Daniele Tavani, 2018. "Income shares, secular stagnation, and the long-run distribution of wealth," FMM Working Paper 25-2018, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    11. Mourelatos, Evangelos & Giannakopoulos, Nicholas & Tzagarakis, Manolis, 2019. "Personality Traits and Performance in Online Labour Markets," GLO Discussion Paper Series 338, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    12. Borchert, Kathrin & Hirth, Matthias & Kummer, Michael E. & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Slivko, Olga & Viete, Steffen, 2018. "Unemployment and online labor," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-023, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets

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