The New Entepreneur: Worker Experiences in the Sharing Economy

Posted: 1 Jun 2018

Date Written: Feb 8, 2018


My mixed-methods dissertation utilizes interviews with nearly 80 workers for Airbnb, Uber, Taskrabbit and Kitchensurfing in New York City in an exploration of the socioeconomic implications of this new wave of entrepreneurship. Using grounded theory, I categorize workers into three classifications: Struggler, Striver and Success Story. While the firms market an entrepreneurial ethos, I find that the sharing or gig economy has simply increased economic insecurity and worker vulnerability. Workers, especially the Strugglers and Strivers, find themselves outside standard workplace protections and exposed to considerable risks. Although the Success Stories are able to pursue entrepreneurship, such opportunities are often linked to their high level of skills and capital, rather than an equalizing of the entrepreneurial playing field.

Keywords: Future of Work, Entrepreneurship, Technology, Innovation, gig economy, sharing economy, on-demand, Kauffman Foundation

JEL Classification: L26, J46, Z13, M00, J81, J88, J46, J47, J49, J24

Suggested Citation

Ravenelle, Alexandrea, The New Entepreneur: Worker Experiences in the Sharing Economy (Feb 8, 2018). Available at SSRN:

Alexandrea Ravenelle (Contact Author)

Mercy College ( email )

555 Broadway
New York City, NY 678551
United States

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