Homines Diversi: Heterogeneous Earner Behaviors in the Platform Economy


  • Mehmet Cansoy Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Fairfield University https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9448-7005
  • Samantha Eddy Sociology Department, Boston College https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3521-2444
  • Isak Ladegaard Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9480-551X
  • Juliet B. Schor Department of Sociology, Boston College https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9635-1232




Airbnb, behavioral models, platform cooperative, gig economy, platform economy


The platform economy has entered its second decade, and researchers are developing new theorizations of it as an economic form. One important feature is a heterogeneous labor force with respect to hours of work. In this paper, we identify another type of heterogeneity, which is the diversity of economic orientation of earners. Using in-depth interview data from 102 earners on three platforms (Airbnb, TaskRabbit, and StocksyUnited) we find that even within individual platforms, earners have different behavioral models. We have identified three — the maximizing homo economicus; sociologists’ relational homo socialis; and homo instrumentalis. We present evidence of these three types. We then discuss platform policies and how earner diversity aligns with their imperatives for growth.





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2021-01-29 — Updated on 2021-01-29


How to Cite

Cansoy, M., Eddy, S., Ladegaard, I., & Schor, J. B. (2020). Homines Diversi: Heterogeneous Earner Behaviors in the Platform Economy. Sociologica, 14(3), 143–165. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1971-8853/11508