The Online Platform Economy Through the Pandemic
15 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2021
Date Written: October 19, 2021
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic contraction, the Online Platform Economy served as a crucial source of families’ income. The JPMorgan Chase Institute analyzes changes in supply-side participation in the Online Platform Economy during a period that includes the COVID-19 pandemic, record-level job loss, and expanded unemployment insurance benefits. This research leverages de-identified administrative data from a universe of 30 million Chase deposit account customers and tracks payments from 38 online platforms between April 2018 and June 2021. Dividing the Online Platform Economy into four sectors (transportation, non-transport work, selling, leasing) we find that transportation and leasing platforms experienced greater declines in supply-side participation relative to selling and leasing platforms. Platform workers appear to be particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, as they received unemployment insurance at extremely high rates during the pandemic compared to other groups, and should thus be a priority for policymakers amid the current economic recovery.
Keywords: Online platform economy, COVID-19, job loss, unemployment insurance, recession economics, labor supply, income smoothing
JEL Classification: J00, J20, J22, J4, J46, R23
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