NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Elizabeth Lyons

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Working Papers

October 2013Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda
with Ajay Agrawal, John Horton, Nicola Lacetera: w19525
Online contract labor globalizes traditionally local labor markets, with platforms that enable employers, most of whom are in high-income countries, to more easily outsource tasks to contractors, primarily located in low-income countries. This market is growing rapidly; we provide descriptive statistics from one of the leading platforms where the number of hours worked increased 55% from 2011 to 2012, with the 2012 total wage bill just over $360 million. We outline three lines of inquiry in this market setting that are central to the broader digitization research agenda: 1) How will the digitization of this market influence the distribution of economic activity (geographic distribution of work, income distribution, distribution of work across firm boundaries)?; 2) What is the magnitude and...

Forthcoming: Digitization and the Contract Labor Market: A Research Agenda, Ajay Agrawal, John Horton, Nicola Lacetera, Elizabeth Lyons. in Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy, Goldfarb, Greenstein, and Tucker. 2014

January 2013Does Information Help or Hinder Job Applicants from Less Developed Countries in Online Markets?
with Ajay K. Agrawal, Nicola Lacetera: w18720
Online markets reduce certain transaction costs related to global outsourcing. We focus on the role of verified work experience information in affecting online hiring decisions. Prior research shows that additional information about job applicants may disproportionately help or hinder disadvantaged populations. Using data from a major online contract labor platform, we find that contractors from less developed countries (LDCs) are disadvantaged relative to those from developed countries (DCs) in terms of their likelihood of being hired. However, we also find that although verified experience information increases the likelihood of being hired for all applicants, this effect is disproportionately large for LDC contractors. The LDC experience premium applies to other outcomes as well (wage b...

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