The institutional drivers and consequences or precarious work in the new economy
1.1 Dissertation: Urban Inequality, Race, and Labor Market Consequences of Freelancing: An Audit Study in 50 U.S Metropolitan Statistical Areas.”
The advent of freelancing and other forms of contingent employment arrangements complicate selection criteria for full-time employment in organizational careers in diverse urban labor markets. Freelancers constitute one of the fastest-growing groups in the nonstandard workforce. Recent surveys estimate the number of freelancers to be 21 million, equivalent to the combined population of 17 U.S states. While previous studies analyzed the labor market penalty associated with other forms of contingent work such as part-time and temporary work, the labor market consequences of freelancing for ethnically diverse job-seekers in multiple urban labor markets have been largely overlooked. Drawing on a unique large-scale audit study that includes sending 12,000 fictitious resumes to 6,000 job openings in 50 major metropolitan areas, my dissertation asks three interrelated questions:  How does a history of freelancing affect subsequent labor market transition into full-time jobs?  How do these labor market consequences vary among Whites, Blacks, Asians and Latinos, and  How do local labor market demographic composition and economic conditions shape the spatial distribution of such consequences? The three findings shed light on the complex interaction between urban labor markets, race, and precarious work in the new economy. First, freelancers occupy a middling status between full-timers and unemployed workers, but the penalties associated with freelancing are not distributed equally across racial groups. For Black workers, freelancing operates more like a ‘trap’ than a ‘bridge,’ as employers show no significant preference for freelancing Blacks over unemployed ones. For Latino job-seekers, on the other hand, a short-term and successful freelancing career could serve as another full-time job; interview request rates for freelancing Latinos and their full-time counterparts are comparable. Second, with respect to how labor market stratification is a function of demographic composition, I found that percent Black has a large effect in widening the White-Black hiring gap, percent Asian has a small effect in narrowing the White-Asian gap, and percent Latino has no significant effect on the White-Latino gap. Third, I found some support for the thesis that the dynamics of hiring discrimination manifest differently in entrepreneurial cities: long-term unemployed applicants face harsher penalties in urban labor markets with high rates of self-employment.
1.2 Mai, Quan D. “Precarious Work In Europe: Assessing Cross-National Differences And Institutional Determinants Of Precarity In 31 European Countries” Forthcoming in Research in the Sociology of Work.
Within the last few decades, precarious work rose as an important feature of socio-economic insecurity in contemporary Europe. Despite the prevalence of precarious work, the dynamics of cross-national variation of nonstandard employment remains an understudied theme. The study asks: How do various institutional features – such as party composition of governments and labor market institutions – shape the cross-national variation in the distribution and severity of precarious work in 31 European countries? This research captures the elusive concept of precarious work by measuring the degree to which a job  is insecure and uncertain,  offers poor prospects of career mobility, and  puts workers in an economically insecure position with low pay. Building from two theoretical paradigms, the varieties of capitalism (VoC) and the power resource approach (PRT), this study derives and tests hypotheses about how various political and labor market institutions shape the variation in distribution of precarious employment in 31 European countries. Combining the individual-level data from the 2010 European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) with country-level data from multiple sources, my findings suggest that workers’ exposure to job precariousness increase in countries with  strong historical presence of right-wing politics,  low levels of spending on unemployment benefits and ALMP,  weak labor unions,  a lack of focus on vocational training and firm-specific skills,  high unemployment rates and  a legacy of Post-socialism.
1.3 Mai, Quan D, Anna Jacobs, and Terrence Hill. “Subjective Employment Insecurity as Mediator Between Precarious Work And Sleep Disturbance: Evidence From 31 European Countries” - WORKING PAPER
Previous studies linking work and sleep primarily focus on a fundamental contrast between employment and unemployment. We extend this research by testing whether the association between precarious work (self-employed without regular pay, short contract, or no contract) and sleep disturbance (insomnia or general sleep difficulties) is mediated or explained by subjective employment insecurity (perceived insecurity in one’s job, income, and mobility). We use cross-sectional data from the 2010 European Working Conditions Survey (2010), a sample of 39,267 workers between the ages of 25 and 65 living in 31 European countries, to estimate a structural equation model. We find that precarious workers tend to report more employment insecurity and greater sleep disturbance than standard workers. We also observe that workers who report greater employment insecurity also tend to exhibit greater sleep disturbance. Our mediation analysis suggests that the structural conditions of precious work may undermine sleep by promoting the subjective experience of employment insecurity. There is some evidence that the association between precarious work and subjective employment insecurity is more pronounced for women than men. This finding suggests moderated mediation, the idea that the indirect effect of precarious work on sleep disturbance through employment insecurity may vary by gender. Additional research is needed to fully explain the association between precarious work and sleep disturbance.
1.4 Hill, Terrence, Anna Jacobs, Quan Mai, Luis Vila-Henninger, and Michael Grander. “Employment Insecurity and Sleep Disturbance: An analysis of 31 European countries”. WORKING PAPER
Objectives: For nearly half a century, jobs have become increasingly characterized by employment insecurity. In this study, we examine the implications for sleep disturbance.
Setting: European Working Conditions Survey (2010).
Participants: 28,889 workers between the ages of 25 and 65 in 31 European countries.
Measurements: Participants were asked to indicate whether they suffered from “insomnia or general sleep difficulties” in the past 12 months. We employed binary logistic regression to model the association between employment insecurity and sleep disturbance for all countries combined and each individual country.
Results: For all countries combined, employment insecurity increased the odds of reporting insomnia or general sleep difficulties in the past 12 months. Each unit increase in employment insecurity elevated the odds of sleep disturbance by approximately 54%. This finding was remarkably consistent across 25 of 31 European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. These results persisted with adjustments for employment sector, workplace size, precarious employment status, employment tenure, age, gender, education, and immigrant status. Employment insecurity was unrelated to sleep disturbance in 6 European countries: Albania, Estonia, Malta, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.
Conclusions: Our research continues recent efforts to reveal the human costs associated with working in post-industrial neoliberal economies. Our analyses extend the external validity of previous research by exploring the impact of employment insecurity across a wide range of European countries.