Economics and the on-demand workforce

This article talks about the on-demand workforce and economic issues. Some key insights about MTurk:

  • Mechanical Turk boasts that it has more than 500,000 workers worldwide to draw from to do a range of tasks, but an International Labour Organization study estimated that it has a stable workforce of just 20,000.”
  • “A study by Janine Berg, a senior economist at the International Labour Organization (ILO), found that median pay for Turkers in the United States is $4.65 an hour, although  (Rochelle) LaPlante (someone with some serious worker expeirence) says her average is “ten-ish.” (anything in parentheses is my comment, fyi).
  • “Among Turkers, one of the most common complaints is requesters who refuse to pay. Sometimes requesters legitimately conclude that Turkers’ work on a HIT was not up to snuff. Sometimes they simply cheat workers.”
  • “Miriam Cherry, a labor law professor at St. Louis University who has written extensively on crowdsourcing, says it was unfair that platforms like Mechanical Turk (which are eager to attract as many requesters as they can to maximize their commissions) turn a blind eye to workers’ concerns by refusing to do anything about complaints that requesters are cheating them. “The platforms unanimously let people reject your work and not pay you,” Cherry says. “In the real world, if someone is doing a bad job, you can fire them, but you still have to pay for the previous week’s work.”

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