Refereed Journal Articles

Under Review

ABSTRACT. The unexpected outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. in March 2020 hit small businesses across the country, triggering mass job losses and closures. Beyond the severity of the pandemic itself, policy responses adopted by state governments produce yet another set of changes in small business operating environments. This paper provides evidence of how small businesses experience these policy changes during the first months of the pandemic in terms of perceptions of the pandemic, adjustments in employment levels and employee schedule, as well as changes in overall self-employment using data from the Small Business Pulse Survey and the Current Population Survey. Policy variables include the Paycheck Protection Program, a State Orders database, and COVID-19 cases. We find that the PPP per firm on the state level has a strong positive impact in lessening firms’ negative perception, alleviating the need to downsize, and recovering self-employment activities. The lifting of shelter-in-place, non-essential business closures, and restaurant dine-in services restrictions all helped, though their impact were more modest than PPP. The PPP effect however was not significant for female owners and in some cases nonwhite owners, raising concern on the loan access of disadvantaged business groups.

ABSTRACT. As the platform economy offers new employment opportunities to workers, ridesharing gains popularity for its flexibility and low entry costs. While previous studies focused on high-income countries, the global nature of ridesharing suggests varying impacts across nations. This essay examines ridesharing's impact on Brazil, Uber's second-largest labour market globally, and a benchmark for middle-income countries. Specifically, it treats the staggered entry of Uber in Brazilian cities as an opportunity to describe changes in drivers’ demographic profiles and job outcomes compared to the other groups of workers. Results reveal a steady increase in the number of drivers, most of whom drive as a primary job and for long schedules. Such an increase was accompanied by reductions in payment, hours of work, and labour protection – trends not observed for the comparison groups. Together, these findings point to increased vulnerability of self-employed drivers and call for policy responses to ensure worker protection.

ABSTRACT. Ridesharing gained popularity as a flexible and readily available job option. In theory, ridesharing could disproportionately benefit women, who often seek flexible work to balance family responsibilities. Simultaneously, the driver occupation has been historically dominated by men, and women may need to overcome cultural barriers to take advantage of the ridesharing flexibility. However, limited research has focused on the gendered impacts of ridesharing on a large scale. This article takes advantage of the staggered entry of Uber in Brazilian cities to examine these impacts. The results show an increase in female drivers, although men still dominate the occupation. Household composition is a key variable to explain which women become drivers but has little impact on men. Urban violence remains a significant barrier, reducing the probability that women work as drivers. Gender gaps in hours of work and earnings have lowered over time, with men experiencing more significant reductions. 

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