The Geography of Alternative Work

51 Pages Posted: 9 May 2018 Last revised: 15 May 2018

See all articles by Claes Bäckman

Claes Bäckman

Knut Wicksell Centre for Financial Studies; Lund University - School of Economics and Management

Tobin Hanspal

Research Center SAFE, Goethe University Frankfurt

Date Written: April 27, 2018

Abstract

The increase in alternative working arrangements has sparked a debate over the positive impact of increased flexibility against the negative impact of decreased financial security. We study the prevalence and determinants of intermediated work in order to document the relative importance of the arguments for and against this recent labor market trend. We link data on individual participation and losses from a Federal Trade Commission settlement with a Multi-Level Marketing firm with detailed county-level information. Participation is greater in middle-income areas and in areas where female labor market non-participation is higher, suggesting that flexibility offers real benefits. However, losses from MLM participation are higher in areas with lower education levels and higher income inequality, suggesting that the downsides of alternative work are particularly high in certain demographics. Our results illustrate that the advantages and disadvantages of alternative work arrangements accrue to different groups.

Keywords: Intermediated work; Multi-level marketing; Gig-economy; Entrepreneurship; Consumer financial protection

Suggested Citation

Bäckman, Claes and Hanspal, Tobin, The Geography of Alternative Work (April 27, 2018). SAFE Working Paper No. 207. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3175871 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3175871

Claes Bäckman

Knut Wicksell Centre for Financial Studies ( email )

Box 7080
Lund, SE-220 07
Sweden

Lund University - School of Economics and Management ( email )

Tycho Brahes väg 1,
S-220 07 Lund, 223 63
Sweden

Tobin Hanspal (Contact Author)

Research Center SAFE, Goethe University Frankfurt ( email )

(http://www.safe-frankfurt.de)
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 3
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

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