The Geography of Alternative Work
51 Pages Posted: 9 May 2018 Last revised: 15 May 2018
Date Written: April 27, 2018
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: Suggested Citation