Collective Activity

The articles in this category examine how new models of worker solidarity intersect with changes in the way we work. They are not necessarily restricted to platform- and algorithm-mediated labor, but many of them do focus on collective activity in the gig economy. Others discuss approaches to collective activity that, though explored in conventional work contexts, are especially relevant for the gig economy. Moreover, because labor law particularly lends itself to both micro- and macro-narratives, the articles listed here vary between conducting in-depth studies of highly localized experiences and broad, national and often multi-national assessments of regulatory infrastructures. Altogether they emphasize an interest in reimagining collective activity based both on who is eligible for protections and how worker voice can be channeled given the realities of contemporary labor exchange.

Consumer Impact

The articles here acknowledge the growing importance of consumer-generated feedback in employer decision-making. Some of them explicitly examine how consumer ratings are incorporated into gig platforms in order to facilitate algorithmic management practices. Others explore the mechanics and impact of ratings in contexts that are analogous to or illuminating for observers of gig work. Because consumer impact is largely studied outside the legal academy, the articles here draw heavily on and are directed toward audiences in business, economics, and related disciplines.

Discrimination

Observers of the gig economy have long been attentive to discrimination concerns in this new space of labor exchange, but the nature of their concerns vary. Some of the articles in this category emphasize the continued potential for service providers to discriminate against consumers on the basis of race, sex, and other protected categories despite the neutrality promised by algorithmic systems. Other articles examine the potential for consumers to discriminate against gig workers, either in the way consumers select service providers or in the way they rate them. Together, these works ask whether the gig economy meaningfully impacts the frequency and severity of discrimination in labor exchange and, if gig work does have some effect, whether that effect is positive or negative.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The articles in this category explore a range of issues arising from the gig business model. Some are more focused on developing appropriate government responses to innovative business models that may disrupt existing regulatory frameworks. Others ask whether the gig business model challenges our understanding of the boundaries of the firm and, relatedly, the distinction between employment and entrepreneurship. Many articles move fluidly between gig work and other forms of freelancing or contract work in order to identify what, if any, may be the unique and potentially destabilizing features of gig companies.

Worker Misclassification

Inside and outside the gig context, the misclassification of workers is one of the most heavily discussed areas of employment law. In the United States, there is a stark distinction between relatively unprotected independent contractors and employees who receive a range of protections and benefits at work. This disparity also exists in many other common law contexts as well as in several civil law jurisdictions, albeit with some terminological and conceptual differences. The articles in this category reflect the breadth of this scholarship by considering a range of misclassification issues across companies and jurisdictions.

The Gig Economy Beyond Work Law

The articles in this category are the inverse of those in “Beyond the Gig Economy” in that they take up some of the non-labor and employment regulatory concerns posed by gig work. They address taxation, zoning, property rights, food safety, and antitrust, among other topics, and they provide a fuller picture of the range of interests and concerns linked to the rise of gig work.

Work Law Beyond the Gig Economy

The articles in this category are the inverse of those in “Beyond Work Law” in that they address general labor and employment law issues that may contribute to a greater understanding of the gig economy. Although they do not explicitly focus on gig workers or companies, each article is in some respect—whether in terms of legal issue or employment context—especially relevant to the gig economy.