Income security in the on-demand economy: Findings and policy lessons from a survey of crowdworkers

This article assesses the validity of many of the assumptions made about work in the on-demand economy and analyses whether proposals advanced for improving workers’ income security are sufficient for remedying current shortcomings. It draws on findings from a survey of crowdworkers conducted in late 2015 on the Amazon Mechanical Turk and Crowdflower platforms on workers’ employment patterns, work histories, and financial security. Based on this information, it provides an analysis of crowdworkers’ economic dependence on the platform, including the share of workers who depend on crowdwork as their main source of income, as well as their working conditions, the problems they encounter while crowdworking and their overall income security. Drawing on these findings, the article recommends an alternative way of organizing work that can improve the income security of crowdworkers as well as the overall efficiency and productivity of crowdwork.