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Gig Economy and Worker Welfare

Background: It is said that the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (including digitalisation, robots, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, social media other digital technologies) is radically and rapidly changing goods, services, supply chains and employment relationships globally. The spectacular growth of the 'sharing economy' and 'gig economy' (enabled by platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo, AirBnB, AirTasker, TaskRabbit, Freelancer and others) is transforming the nature of work and working relationships - creating both new opportunities and risks for the welfare of Australian workers.

The welfare of workers in the 'gig economy' is getting increasing public and policy attention as these on-demand subcontracting platforms are becoming more pervasive and popular among consumers but also attracting more criticism from the labour movement. On 19 October 2017 the Senate established the Select Committee on the Future of Work and Workers to inquire and report on the impact of technological and other change on the future of work and workers in Australia. The committee is to report by 21 June 2018.

Contributing to this broader debate, we asked our National Economic Panel (NEP) for their views on the following proposition.

Proposition: The wages and conditions of Australian workers providing services in sectors affected by the rapid growth of digital on-demand subcontracting platforms will, on average, be expected to fall without further government intervention.

Read the results of this poll

Read  overviews of the poll results by:

Adjunct Professor Julie Toth, Chief Economist, Australian Industry Group
Dr Josh Healy, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

We would like to thank Dr Josh Healy and Julie Toth for their expert overviews of the results, and Julie for helping us frame the question. 

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