The Gig Economy

4 February 2009 at 9:58 am 1 comment

| Peter Klein |

Tina Brown heralds the rise of the “Gig economy”:

No one I know has a job anymore. They’ve got Gigs.

Gigs: a bunch of free-floating projects, consultancies, and part-time bits and pieces they try and stitch together to make what they refer to wryly as “the Nut” — the sum that allows them to hang on to the apartment, the health-care policy, the baby sitter, and the school fees.

Love the term. She cites poll results on the number of young, educated, skilled workers who bounce from job to job but — as usual with these kinds of breathy pronouncements — doesn’t offer any time-series data. Reliable evidence on “nonstandard labor” (self-employment, part-time work, independent contracting, and the like) is hard to come by, and we don’t really know how much of the Gig economy (like the “new economy”) is actually new. Self-employment rates have generally risen in OECD countries during the 2000s, but I’m not sure about the other data series. Can anyone suggest recent academic studies?

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Theory of the Firm.

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