An Uber driver making $3 an hour . A Homejoy housecleaner admitting to living in a shelter . A Fiverr advertisement seeking workers whose drug of choice is “ sleep deprivation .” Stories of the misery of the American gig economy abound.
It turns out the problem might be global. In a three-year investigation , researchers at the University of Oxford and the University of Pretoria spoke with scores of online gig workers from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These workers use digital platforms to bid on and perform tasks such as transcription, photo editing, and data entry. Much like their counterparts in the United States, the workers reported liking the freedom and flexibility that the work offered. Some described it as lucrative, as well. “For me, it’s a high paying job,” Angel, a contingent worker from the Philippines, said . “I was able to afford an apartment, pay my own bills, my own internet connection, my own cable, paying for our own food, for my kids’ milk. That’s all on my own.” (The authors did not include participants’ last names.)
But like their counterparts in the United States, they also described their work as unstable, uncertain, […]