Favouring political and economic conditions combined with technological advancements allowed casual employment on digital platforms recently to rise – the gig economy emerged. It is estimated that at least 45 million gig workers were registered online in 2015. This new sector ensures flexibility and autonomy; nevertheless, it brings about risks related to welfare state services which were designed for traditional forms of employment. New risks include an unclear employment status, irregular working hours, overwork and constant digital surveillance.
The paper takes an interdisciplinary approach due to the complexity of the gig economy posing questions and challenges across the disciplines of economics, philosophy and politics. It concludes that jobs in the gig economy need to have the same standards and working conditions as traditional jobs. This implies adjusting welfare state policies to the new demands through shared responsibility of both the corporations in the gig economy and the welfare state.
Lessons for practice
Keywords: gig economy, flexibility, digitalisation, welfare state, neoliberalism
Citation: Graff, A. (2021). The Welfare State Should Adjust To New Risks Caused By The Gig Economy: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Public Note, URS
"I have written this paper as part of a course in my studies, the Capstone Project. The aim was to write an interdisciplinary research paper about a societal issue or problem within my track „Challenges to the Welfare State“. What inspired me to write about the gig economy was the huge number of „riders“ in Utrecht. I started to inform myself about the working conditions, organisation of such jobs and its (lack of) regulation and thus realised the growing importance of this sector. Therefore the complexity of the gig economy fits very well into the framework of an interdisciplinary approach as it poses questions across the disciplines of politics, philosophy and economics."