Understanding the Growth and Nature of Non-Employee Work

Awarded Scholars:
Katharine Abraham, University of Maryland at College Park
John Haltiwanger, University of Maryland at College Park
Lee Sandusky, U.S. Census Bureau
James Spletzer, U.S. Census Bureau
Project Date:
Jun 2017
Award Amount:

  • September 2019: Additional funding of $35,000 awarded
Co-funded with the W. K. Kellogg Foundation

In recent years, the press has reported that the share of jobs not involving a formal employer-employee relationship is large and growing.  Both media sources and scholars use the term “gig economy” to refer to less-structured work arrangements, as well as the subset of flexible jobs mediated through online platforms. Survey data, however, seem at odds with this perception that gig employment is growing.  For example, we expect that these workers would be classified as self-employed, but the Current Population Survey (CPS) reports a declining self-employment rate since the mid-1990s.  In contrast, administrative data show that non-employee work arrangements have increased. 

To better understand trends in alternative employment arrangements, including non-standard work, and their implications for workers, Katharine Abraham and John Haltiwanger, in collaboration with Lee Sandusky and James Spletzer, propose to develop and analyze new datasets that link individual records from the CPS and administrative data sources. These linked datasets will provide information on the characteristics of individuals and the sources of their earnings.




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