WSJ – How Estimates of the Gig Economy Went Wrong

  • Alan Krueger of Princeton University and Lawrence Katz of Harvard sifted through new evidence to explain how a 2015 survey, overestimated how people cobbling together a living from odd jobs, especially via apps like Uber, would upend traditional work arrangements
  • Earlier this decade, researchers said the gig economy was taking over the way people work
  • Labor Department studied the question in detailed research released last summer, concluded the gig economy had scarcely changed the U.S. labor market.
  • the gig economy appeared swollen largely because the labor market earlier this decade was so weak for so long in the aftermath of the recession
    • As the economy returned to normal, they returned to more familiar work arrangements
  • surveys used to measure alternative work arrangements remain riddled with flaws, and the Labor Department does a poor job of accounting for people with multiple jobs.
  • Krueger and Katz now conclude 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 2 percentage points, instead of the five percentage point rise we originally reported.”

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