Flexibility or Insecurity? Gig Work, Economic Security, and Health and Well-being

Katherine Hill , University of Texas at Austin

The “gig economy” is expansive, including services like Uber and TaskRabbit as well as business and creative freelancers on short terms projects. The growth of the gig economy has prompted a national conversation on how and when people work and how it shapes their health and personal lives. A growing body of literature examines how work structure shapes the wellbeing of workers. Its significance has led researchers to consider precarious employment an emerging social determinant of health. The gig economy, however, is a new phenomenon of the U.S. labor market that little research has yet explored. My research uses an innovative approach to collect previously unavailable survey data on gig work schedules and health and wellbeing from targeted samples of workers in the gig economy. I then use this data to show how dependence on earnings from gig work is associated with gig worker financial security, autonomy, health, and wellbeing.

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 Presented in Session 8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, & Inequality