Punching the Clock on a Smartphone App? The Changing Nature of Work in America and Regulatory Barriers to Success

The Labor Department’s David Weil argues that people like you and me should not be able to negotiate our own labor contracts. We need smart people such as, well, him. From the top down, he seeks to “change private behavior,” and institute a single set of planned principles, set by government. This achievement would be as impressive as it is unrealistic.

People, on their own initiative, have instead been working from the bottom up. “Sharing economy” firms such as Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit, and others have been attracting willing workers in droves, even though few of the workers are formal employees. A major reason is that their arrangements have low transaction costs.Willing workers should be allowed to work, even if they don’t match David Weil’s preferred high-transaction cost methods.

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