The Future of Work in the ‘Sharing Economy’. Market Efficiency and Equitable Opportunities or Unfair Precarisation

Authors: Cadognone, C., Abadie, F. & Biagi, F. 

Date Published: 2016

Why did we select this research?

This essay attempts to disentangle the rhetoric and controversy that has characterised the sharing economy debate. It looks at the available empirical evidence in order to enable a more rational debate - at least in the discussion of policies, if not in the public arena. The paper defines and conceptualises digital labour markets, describes their functioning and the socio-demographic profiles of the participants, and review their economic and social effects. 

Key Findings

  • Individuals engage in these activities primarily for money, for a large segment of them this work is their primary source of income, and most are under-employed and self-employed and fewer are unemployed and inactive 

  • Matching frictions and hiring inefficiencies are widespread and even the OLMs are far from being globalised online meritocracies

  • A behavioural approach to big data exploration should be further applied because there is emerging evidence of heuristic and biases contributing to hiring inefficiencies. 


Codagnone, C., Abadie, F. & Biagi, F. (2016) The Future of Work in the ‘Sharing Economy.’ Market Efficiency and Equitable Opportunities or Unfair Precarisation. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, JRC Science for Report