Articles & Reports

City Power in the Age of Silicon Valley: Evaluating Municipal Regulatory Response to the Entry of Uber to the American City. Andrew Wolf. City & Community. March 2022.

This paper recasts the debate over the employment status of gig-economy workers as a question about the power of municipal governance. Gig employers are challenging urban regulatory regimes through their disavowal of an employment relationship and their refusal to obtain taxi licenses. Utilizing original data, this study investigates urban regulatory responses to Uber through descriptive statistics and multivariate modeling. Those that took action had historically greater levels of regulation and faced driver protests—a sign of a stronger labor-antipoverty coalition. Additional evidence indicates a learning effect in which cities became more likely to regulate over time.

COVID and the Risky Immigrant Workplace: How Declining Employment Standards Socialized Risk and Made the COVID-19 Pandemic Worse. Andrew Wolf. Labor Studies Journal. July 2022. [Full pdf here]

Scholars have long noted the ways in which the construction of the welfare state was racialized. This paper explores how the current decline of the welfare state is also racialized. Utilizing the experience of immigrant taxi and app drivers in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic, I explore how the racialized decline of social and employment protections concentrated the impacts of the virus in these communities. In light of the lack of social protections, I advance the notion of uncertainties as the socio-cultural mechanism through which the disparate impacts of the pandemic were generated.

Who’s the Boss? Digitally Mediated Employment’s Impacts on Labour Markets and the Nature of Work. Andrew Wolf in The Platform Economy and the City: Urban Peril and Promise in the New Digital Economy eds., Spicer, Z & Zwick, A. McGill-Queen’s University Press: Montreal. 2021. [Full pdf here]

This chapter explores the problems of algorithmic management and employee misclassification in the gig-economy from the stand point of how it impacts urban governance and urban planning. This is done through an exploration and comparison of worker and government response to these issues in various cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

The Fight to Globalize Labor: Understanding the Role of Activists in the Spread of International Norms. Andrew Wolf. Law & Society Review. Sept 2020. [Full pdf here]

International relations scholars have traditionally focused on state‐centered accounts of international legal norm development between nations while sociolegal scholars have focused on Weberian notions of occupational authority. This study advances a constructivist sociolegal approach emphasizing activist action as playing a unique role in shaping international norms.

When Coops Are Not on the Menu: Why Immigrant Platform Delivery Workers in New York City Rejected a Cooperative Alternative.” 2022. Wolf, A. and Figueroa, M. The Journal of Comparative Labour and Social Security Vol. (3). [Full pdf English Version and French Version]

This paper evaluates the promise and peril for immigrant organizations in choosing to attempt to build platform cooperatives. The issue of immigrant movement orientation is advanced as an under considered challenge in explaining coop formation.

Essential but Unprotected: App-based Food Couriers in New York City.” Maria Figueroa, Ligia Guallpa, Andrew Wolf, Glendy Tsitouras, and Hildalyn Colon Hernandez. Cornell University Worker Institute. Sept 2021.

This report was based on a survey of over 500 app-based delivery workers in New York City working with Maria Figueroa of Cornell University and the staff from the Workers’ Justice Project. Our survey and report detailed the conditions gig-delivery workers experience in New York City. We found that app-based delivery workers experienced low pay and a large number of incidents of physical assault and racial discrimination. We also show that app-delivery work became the backstop immigrant job during the COVID pandemic.

(Forthcoming). 2022. Wolf, A. “The Pandemic Revolt of New York City’s Immigrant ‘Small Business’ Unions.” In The Pandemic and the Working Class ed., Steve Striffler & Nick Juravich. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

This chapter evaluates four “union style” movements of immigrant small business owners who became prominent in NYC’s wave of immigrant pandemic protests. The chapter argues that immigrant small business owners adopt union forms because their marginalization in the economy makes them more like workers dependent on dominant firms and the government.


Wolf, A. B. (2023). Race, Removal, and the Right to Remain: Migration and the Making of the United States. Contemporary Sociology, 52(2), 176–178. [Full pdf here]