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Apr 26 2023

PSID Seminar: Understanding Non-Traditional Work Arrangements in the United States

Andrew Joung, Ph.D. candidate, University of Michigan, Economics

April 26, 2023
2:00 – 3:00pm

Join via Zoom:

Many people engage in non-traditional work arrangements, yet there exists a dearth of data on these arrangements, which prevents consideration of important questions relevant to employment, inequality, and policy. This paper examines non-traditional work arrangements over the life course using machine learning to leverage internal data collected in the 1997-2019 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) on respondents’ narrative descriptions of their industry and type of work along with their employer names. The approach classifies work arrangements into several categories including platform-mediated gig work, informal self-employment, formal self-employment, business ownership, and W-2 employment. The paper then examines differences in characteristics associated with different work arrangements. Preliminary findings show disparate trends in the share of workers engaging in different types of self-employment work arrangements that would otherwise be masked. Further results suggest that, compared to those in other work arrangements, the informal self-employed generally tend to be less educated, are less likely to be male and non-Hispanic White, have less labor income, and have worse measures of wellbeing. Our findings also suggest that a slightly more male, and substantially more racially and ethnically diverse population has entered platform gig work. The paper’s findings motivate future research exploring work trajectories across different types of work arrangements and their consequences on financial, physical, and mental wellbeing over the life course.