Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market

38 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2015  

Alan Benson

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Aaron J. Sojourner

University of Minnesota; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Akhmed Umyarov

University of Minnesota

Abstract

In two experiments, we examine the effects of employer reputation in an online labor market (Amazon Mechanical Turk) in which employers may decline to pay workers while keeping their work product. First, in an audit study of employers by a blinded worker, we find that working only for good employers yields 40% higher wages. Second, in an experiment that varied reputation, we find that good-reputation employers attract work of the same quality but at twice the rate as bad-reputation employers. This is the first clean, field evidence on the value of employer reputation. It can serve as collateral against opportunism in the absence of contract enforcement.

Keywords: labor, personnel, contracts, online labor markets, job search, screening, reputation, online ratings

JEL Classification: L14, M55, J41, J2, L86, D82, K12, K42

Suggested Citation

Benson, Alan and Sojourner, Aaron J. and Umyarov, Akhmed, Can Reputation Discipline the Gig Economy? Experimental Evidence from an Online Labor Market. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9501. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2696299

Alan Benson (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/amb263/

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/alanmb/www/index.htm

Aaron J. Sojourner

University of Minnesota ( email )

Carlson School of Management
321 19th Ave S, 3-300
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
6126249521 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Akhmed Umyarov

University of Minnesota ( email )

321 19th Ave S
IDSC at Carlson School of Management
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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