My research is at the intersection of labor and innovation aimed at understanding the impact of the structure of work due to the current wave of innovation (ICT revolution, digital innovation, the internet of things, automation, AI, etc.). I’m interested in 3 main themes:
1. The way we do work
This has been discussed at length in regards to the replacement of routine work, rise of social and stem skills, and within the innovation and management/organization fields, the importance of teamwork. In my previous work, I have been interested in the role of teamwork (it’s impact in conjunction with age on lifetime patenting) and skills (particularly the importance of knowledge managers).
2. How work is structured
Having a single employer is still the predominant form of work, but the rise of new online labor markets has lead way to a new class of work (often called the gig economy) of which many labor institutions are unprepared to handle.
How are new types of work affecting wages? With the rise of the gig economy, income can now come from a variety of sources, whether that be platform work (ie Mechanical Turk), renting out possessions (Homes via airbnb, cars via Turo) or providing services (Thumbtack, Etsy, Lyft). Work has become decentralized in these markets with employers no longer providing the same benefits or pay structure as those in more centralized firm organization structures. Has this new structure impacted inequality? Is there biasedness in hiring within online labor markets? What is the responsibility of the firm to the employee? Under which labor institutional settings can workers be best protected considering the changing role of the firm (ie in the us context of providing retirement benefit options and healthcare)? How do we consider contracts for this new type of work and what rights do these individuals have?
3. The labor cost of crowdsourced data
For every rating or review that we give service providers, we are providing (unpaid) data (and work). The sum of this crowdsourced information is much more valuable than each of the ratings provided. How can we make visible the labor cost that goes into each of these ratings? Should firms pay for this information? Should the outcome of these crowdsourced information be made more publicly available (at least for government and researchers)?
Q: If you had to convince a young adult why they should study economics, what would you tell them?
If they are curious about the world then study economics – become a worldy philosopher as Robert Heilbroner coined it.