Discrimination without Discriminating? Learned Gender Inequality in the Labor Market and Gig Economy

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The “sharing” economy, and in particular the exchange of labor and services within it, is generating wide-spread attention from scholars. It has been celebrated as a disruption to current forms of labor and consumption. This depiction suggests a new, sui generis form of economy, which can and should be understood in and of itself, or at most, by its contrast with the current labor market in which workers are employees. Yet, I argue, emerging research on gender discrimination in the gig economy suggests that this understanding occludes a major feature of the gig economy—its operation in the shadow of the labor market and antidiscrimination law. In this Article, l argue that we should begin to consider the deeper relationship between the gig economy, the labor market, and antidiscrimination law. More specifically, I contend that inequality is learned: the labor market teaches gender inequality, these lessons are internalized by workers and reappear in the context of working in the gig economy. Therefore, I suggest that if we wish to mitigate gender discrimination for taskers in the gig economy, we must enhance antidiscrimination law for employees in the traditional labor market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-567
Number of pages23
JournalCornell Journal of Law and Public Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

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© 2019 Cornell Law School. All rights reserved.


  • Sex discrimination
  • Gender inequality
  • Anti-discrimination laws
  • Labor market
  • Gig economy
  • Sharing economy


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