SocraticGadfly: Gig economy not a "thing" after all?Doug Henwood offers thin anachronistic evidence

June 08, 2018

Gig economy not a "thing" after all?
Doug Henwood offers thin anachronistic evidence

Yesterday, Henwood claimed that a new study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the gig economy claimed to have grown so much in the Great Recession actually hadn't.

I saw it first on Twitter via a notification to one of my multiple accounts, where Henwood tweeted a link to the BLS study.

Problem? Yes. The previous study was in 2005. A bell curve on contingency jobs could have happened in, say, 2010-11. Just a little bit of a problem.

So, via one of those other accounts (since Dougie has me blocked on my main account) I checked to see if he had more. And he does, at his LBO website.

But not a lot more. And, it's problematic. He says that a 2015 Freelancers Union survey wasn't scientific and was biased.

He then says that the well-known Katz-Krueger 2016 report, based on RAND information, had its own problems:

That paper was based on an online survey conducted by the RAND Corporation The survey was small—fewer than 4,000 respondents—and its sample wasn’t very representative of the overall population, a flaw the authors corrected through vigorous statistical handiwork.
Sounds to me overdone. First, 4,000 is not THAT small. Second, he doesn't detail how it wasn't very representative. Third, he seems to provide a link only to the original report, which I linked above. I hovered my mouse cursor over the pull-quote graf above and saw no link to a URL for a revised paper.

Beyond all that, Henwood knows the survey in question was backward looking, to the height of the Great Recession, where that possible bell curve might be. It was a snapshot. It's fair to bust people claiming that we're all in the gig economy today; it's not fair to distort what a paper was about as part of that claim

Shock me.

Henwood likes playing on being contrarian at times; as one myself, beyond being blocked by him, I have no problems giving him a minor chops-busting here.

And, I have done so! Including in the header. Given what I said about the previous BLS study being 2005, and possible bell curves, his blog post is, indeed anachronistic. It's "out of time."

Given his contrarianness, Doug probably won't accept this riposte, even if he sees it.

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