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The gig economy in complex refugee situations

Research with Syrian women refugees in Jordan suggests that, despite significant challenges, the gig economy has some potential to help refugees participate in host communities and to bolster their economic participation. As elsewhere in the world, the gig economy–in which companies develop mobile platforms which bring together workers and the purchasers of their services–is fast taking root in Jordan. These platforms enable businesses to order timed and monetised tasks from an available worker, with a fee or commission commonly charged to the worker or client by the platform. A 2017 study commissioned by the International Rescue Committee and carried out by the Overseas Development Institute explored the potential of the gig economy to provide economic opportunities to Syrian women refugees currently living in Jordan. Furthermore, structural constraints–both practical and political–to accessing gig work present a barrier to entry for marginalised communities. For example, for many refugees in Jordan, Internet connectivity is limited or non-existent