Daniels, K., & Grinstein-Weiss, M. (2018). The Impact of the Gig-Economy on Financial Hardship Among Low-Income Families.

We analyze a novel data set documenting the financial health of a sample of low-income families. We are interested in the likelihood that a family experiences hardship, meaning they fail to pay their bills on time. We leverage the sequential launch of Uber’s UberX service across locations to identify the impact of the associated increase in access to gigs on hardship via a difference-in-differences design. The granularity of our data allows exploration of possible mechanisms for our results. We find that UberX increases hardship among the low-income population, primarily by decreasing overall take-home pay (i.e. annual income less expenses). This is despite a corresponding reduction in income volatility, generally a boon to low-income families who have insufficient savings to weather unexpected dips in earnings. [Read More]