Online Outsourcing and the Future of Work

33 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2017

See all articles by Korok Ray

Korok Ray

Texas A&M University - Mays Innovation Research Center

Date Written: September 13, 2017


The push toward global connectivity and the worldwide expansion of the internet, combined with the ongoing decline in the cost of technology, will change global labor markets and the nature of employment. Future technology will coordinate the assignment, distribution, and measurement of tasks to a billion-person network across multiple countries and dozens of skill vectors. The fixed salary, full-time employee will be replaced with a virtual network of online contractors who receive and deliver their work through computer-mediated auctions, assignments, and other economic mechanisms. I document these trends, explain the underlying economics, investigate the current labor laws and benefits for independent contractors, and suggest policy proposals that can prepare for the transformation.

Keywords: online labor markets, crowdsourcing, human computation, artificial intelligence, the future of work

JEL Classification: J2, J400, M550, O310, O400, O330

Suggested Citation

Ray, Korok, Online Outsourcing and the Future of Work (September 13, 2017). Mays Business School Research Paper No. 3046844, Mercatus Research Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Korok Ray (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Mays Innovation Research Center ( email )

4113 TAMU College State
TX 77843-4113
United States


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