E50 -

Paul Matzko and Matthew Feeney dissect the gig economy & how their contractors generally seem to enjoy the flexibility of their work.

Paul Matzko
Tech & Innovation Editor

Matthew Feeney is the director of Cato’s Project on Emerging Technologies, where he works on issues concerning the intersection of new technologies and civil liberties. . Before coming to Cato, Matthew worked at Reason magazine as assistant editor of Rea​son​.com. He has also worked at The American Conservative, the Liberal Democrats, and the Institute of Economic Affairs. Matthew is a dual British/​American citizen and received both his B.A and M.A in philosophy from the University of Reading in England.

The gig economy is transforming cities. Companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit are hiring thousands of workers on a contract basis rather than as formal employees, a legal distinction with broad implications for both workers and the future of the American economy. Matthew and Paul discuss the reasoning behind the contractor classification and whether it will be a net benefit to gig economy workers. They also talk about smart policy fixes—including expanded access to portable health insurance and various benefits‐​focused startups—that can address the downsides of contingent labor.

What is the gig economy and how is it different than the regular economy? What is rent‐​seeking behavior and how is it threatening the gig economy? What is the best interests of consumers? What is the precautionary principle?

Further Reading: