Loewenstein, Mark, Agency Law and the New Economy (November 1, 2017). 72 Bus. Law. 1009 (2017); U of Colorado Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-18. [Abstract below]
This article considers the status of workers in the “new economy,” defined as the sharing economy (e.g., Uber, Lyft) and the on-demand economy. The latter refers to the extensive and growing use of staffing companies by established businesses in many different industries to provide all or a portion of their workforce. Workers in both the sharing economy and the on-demand economy are, generally speaking, at a disadvantage in comparison to traditional employees. Uber drivers, for example, are typically considered independent contractors, not employees, and therefore are not covered under federal and state laws that protect or provide benefits to employees. Similarly, employees of a staffing company may consider themselves employees of the client company and, therefore, entitled to negotiate collectively with the client company and receive the same benefits as the client company’s employees, yet the client company may take the position that it is not the employer or even a “joint employer” of such workers. Courts considering the claims of these workers typically look to the common-law definition of “employee,” as legislatures have typically neglected to define “employee” when drafting laws to protect employees. The resulting litigation has generated judicial decisions that are difficult to parse and often treat workers unfairly. This article takes a fresh approach to this problem, considering the shortcomings of the common-law definition and suggesting solutions.
Naomi Schoenbaum, Stuck or Rooted? The Costs of Mobility and the Value of Place, 127 Yale L.J. F. 458 (2017)[Abstract below]
David Schleicher has written an important article on the relationship between law and mobility, arguing for policymakers to be more concerned with policies that stand in the way of individuals moving to bigger, more productive cities. This Response takes up the costs of mobility for productivity, welfare, and sex equality omitted by Schleicher, and addresses Schleicher’s treatment of place as a market. It argues that Schleicher’s argument fails to account for how mobility interacts with critical relationships. While Schleicher’s view of productivity is premised in agglomeration economics, he ignores how mobility ruptures the very relationships on which the benefits of agglomeration (and broader welfare metrics) depend. He also misses how moves often are not made by individuals, but rather by families, and neglects the fact that such moves often entail losses for women. Finally, Schleicher’s treatment of place as a market, where individuals should essentially move to the highest bidder, ignores how our attachments to places run far deeper than the labor market opportunities they afford.
Peter Whoriskey, For many older Americans, the race race is over. But inequality isn’t., Washington Post, October 18, 2017. [“While the rat race ends with retirement, one of its principal features extends well past a person’s last day of work.”]
Alana Semuels, The Barriers Stopping Poor People From Moving to Better Jobs, City Lab, October 12, 2017. [“Highly educated people still relocate for work, but exorbitant housing costs in the best-paying cities make it difficult for anyone else to do so.”]
Michelle Jackson, David B. Grusky, The Big Picture: Unequal America, Public Books, October 24, 2017. [“[The] 12th installment of “The Big Picture” a public symposium on what’s at stake in Trump’s America…”]
Alastair Gee, Chronicling homelessness: do ‘homeward bound’ bus programs work?, September 29, 2017. [“Cities across the US offer publicly funded bus tickets to get homeless people back to their roots…”]
David A. Super, Implementing the three-month time limit on SNAP for unemployed 18-to 49-year-olds, Center for Civil Justice, July 2, 2015. [Excerpted below]
The 1996 welfare law for the first time imposed a time limit on the eligibility of low-income people for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits even when they are complying with all program requirements. The Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that this provision would cause roughly one million childless people between the ages of 18 and 50 who want to work but cannot find jobs to lose benefits in an average month. Fortunately, even states that strongly support imposing demanding work requirements on recipients recognized the unfairness of cutting off people who are willing to work. As a result, several hundred thousand people were spared arbitrary cut-offs.
Lynn Wombold, Is the American Dream still affordable, ESRI, 2017. [“The only known in this equation is that the hopes and dreams of Millennials will lead the way.”]
Heather Long, African Americans are the only racial group in U.S. still making less than they did in 2000, Washington Post, September 15, 2017. [“African Americans were worse off financially in 2016 than they were in 2000”]
Neil Irwin,To Understand Rising Inequality, Consider the Janitors at Two Top Companies, Then and Now, The Upshot, September 3, 2017. [Divergent qualities of life highlight a shift toward bare bones employment strategies at top technology companies.]