The Effects of Self and Temporary Employment on Mental Health: The Role of the Gig Economy in the UK
42 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019 Last revised: 2 Jun 2019
Date Written: May 28, 2019
We study the effect of both self and temporary employment on mental health in the UK. We match individual-level information on health and sociodemographic characteristics from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society) between 2009 and 2016 with Google Trends data on the amount of search activity related to the gig economy. We use Google Trends data on Uber, Deliveroo, and Airbnb by commuting zone to instrument for the probability that an individual will be employed in a gig-type job. The Google Trends data are strong predictors of both self and temporary employment. Our findings suggest that self and temporary employment, as identified through gig-economy activity, have large positive effects on mental health. These effects exist for both men and women but are stronger for women and for older workers (ages 40-64). Our evidence points to issues of control in the job as potential drivers of the improvements in mental health.
Keywords: Mental health, Self-employment, Temporary jobs, Gig Economy
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation