Unemployment and Online Labor - Evidence from Microtasking
Posted: 15 May 2018 Last revised: 22 Jun 2022
Date Written: 2018
We analyze the relationship between unemployment and the supply of online labor for microtasking. Using detailed US data from a large microtasking platform between 2011 and
2015, we study the participation and the number of hours supplied by workers in the US.
We find 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-skill workers. Our analyses of the intensive margin, the wage elasticity, and the temporal work patterns suggest that the increased participation was likely
motivated by an effort to substitute income. Our findings suggest that microtasking platforms appear to be an interesting online labor market for less educated workers. However,
we also observe very low retention rates, indicative of a solely transient participation effect.
Keywords: Crowdworking; Online platform; Unemployment; Wage Elasticity
JEL Classification: J21, D29, D80, H41, J60, L17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation