Abstract: The gig economy provides workers with the benefits of autonomy and flexibility, but it does so at the expense of work identity and co-worker bonds. Among the many reasons why gig workers leave their platforms, an unexplored aspect is the organization identity. In a series of studies, we develop a team formation and inter-team contest at a ride-sharing platform. We employ an end-to-end data science approach, combining methodologies from randomized field experiments, recommender systems, and counterfactual machine learning. Together, our results show that platform designers can leverage team identity and team contests to increase revenue and worker engagement in a gig economy.
Bio: Wei Ai is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) and the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland. His research interest lies in data science for social good, where the advances of machine learning and data analysis algorithms translate into measurable impacts on society. He combines machine learning, causal inference, and field experiments in his research, and has rich experience in collaborating with industrial partners. He earned his Ph.D. from the School of Information at the University of Michigan. His research has been published in top journals and conferences, including PNAS, ACM TOIS, WWW, and ICWSM.