Online Outsourcing and the Future of Work

33 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2018

See all articles by Korok Ray

Korok Ray

University of Chicago GSB

Date Written: 09/13/2017


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.

Suggested Citation

Ray, Korok, Online Outsourcing and the Future of Work (09/13/2017). MERCATUS WORKING PAPER, Available at SSRN: or

Korok Ray (Contact Author)

University of Chicago GSB ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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