global minima

Social scientists have recently been involved with exploring the possibilities of using Amazon Mechanical Turk for various research purposes. (What about data entry? Has anyone used it for data entry?) In a twist, here are some journalists using Mechanical Turk to try to figure out the minimum wage for which they could at least get three folks in different countries to do a task. The answer for getting three Americans: 25 cents an hour.

(Is there a Fair Trade Turk movement? Should there be?)

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

One thought on “global minima”

  1. Let’s see: no supervision, no prohibition on multitasking, no reporting requirements to ensure comprehension (this is The Daily Beast, so even if they were included they have no supervisory capacity), and no commitment of a future relationship.

    So the quarter costs them setting up and processing payment, including any official reporting if it develops into a Going Concern (see previous parenthetic and extrapolate appropriately).

    Are we certain the people they didn’t get weren’t all already employed? From the POV of the unemployed worker, processing that payment means having a functional bank account and/or getting laughed at at the Check Cashing place. While I’d take the 25 cent check and hold it for five months and 20some days (so that they would have those accounting costs as well) and then cash it, hoping I hadn’t missed their admission of bankruptcy.

    Or maybe just frame it to avoid the $10 bounced check charge for not knowing a Daily Beast check would be worthless.


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