Unemployment and Online Labor: Evidence from Microtasking

In stock

Publication History

Received: January 8, 2021
Revised: December 23, 2021; April 12, 2022; June 10, 2022
Accepted: June 13, 2022
Published Online as Articles in Advance: May 22, 2023
Published in Issue: June 1, 2023


Downloadable File
We analyze the relationship between unemployment and the supply of online labor for microtasking. Using detailed U.S. data from a large microtasking platform between 2011 and 2015, we study the participation and the number of hours supplied by workers in the U.S. We found that more individuals registered on the platform and completed microtasks as the unemployment level in the commuting zone increased. This effect was strongest in regions with a high share of low-skilled workers. Our analyses of the intensive margin, wage elasticity, and temporal work patterns suggest that the increased participation was likely motivated by an effort to substitute income. Our findings suggest that microtasking platforms are an interesting online labor market for less educated workers. However, we also observed very low retention rates, indicative of a solely transient participation effect.
Additional Details
Author Ulrich Laitenberger, Steffen Viete, Olga Slivko, Michael Kummer, Kathrin Borchert, and Matthias Hirth
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 2
Keywords Crowdworking, online platform, unemployment, wage elasticity
Page Numbers 771-802
Copyright © 2023 MISQ. All rights reserved.