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research agenda

twenty-first century employment structures & the gig economy

My most recent stream of research deals with the structure of employment in the contemporary labor markets, especially around alternative work arrangements and the “gig economy.” I have worked in the past on the issue of the increasing contingent nature of the relationship between employers and their workforce. I am currently expanding that work, exploring the nature of work relationships, entrepreneurship and freelance work that is by choice and by necessity, and other forms of contingent work. My Wilson Center Fellowship will fund an extensive survey of platform and freelance workers in the U.S. Current works in progress include papers on the effect of COVID-19 on gig workers and the role of platform cooperativism in reducing economic precarity and improving working conditions.

urban inequality, equality of opportunity & socio-economic mobility

I am interested in inequality and economic mobility as they relate to creative economies, based in part on the contributions to a panel I organized for a recent Urban Affairs Conference entitled “Contradictions of the creative city: inequality, economic mobility, and the arts.” I also see this as the first of several research projects considering this relationship, eventually exploring it with confidential longitudinal and cross-sectional data. This work will also be put together into a monograph on creative capital and its role in addressing urban economic inequality and social mobility.

economic geography of creative industries

I plan to continue with my work on creative industries, especially around motion pictures and related industries. In addition to the two to three articles I expect to submit as a result of my dissertation work, I would like to explore more fully the structure of the industry workforce using tools such as social network analysis and geographic information systems. In addition, I would like to continue working on the structure and organization or creative work and innovation economies.

regional indicators and quality of life assessments

Another area of interest, although yet to be explored in my formal academic research, is the issue of regional indicators and quality of life assessments. This interest began while I was chairing a civic board for Wilmington/New Hanover County, NC, as part of which I was honored to co-host a regional Quality of Life Conference with Dr. Milan Dluhy of UNCW in 2003. As part of that effort, we worked with city, county and state officials to establish a regional progress board to track community health and economic indicators. A similar effort, “Neighborhood Nexus,” began in the Atlanta metropolitan region a few years ago, but I was not able to work on it before leaving the state. Upon my return to North Carolina in 2014, I became aware of another related project, the NC Indicator Projects Group, which has been working on establishing similar efforts throughout the state. I am interested in exploring both the trend in implementing these efforts, and the results they have achieved where they have been implemented.


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