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PhD Alumnus Receives Grants by the Prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

May 15th, 2017

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Gig EconomyKevin Hong, a 2014 graduate of the Management Information Systems concentration of the PhD program at the Fox School of Business and an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University, recently received a $120,024 grant to research bias and health issues in online “gig economy” platforms. The grant, awarded by the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will provide Hong with funding for two years to research how online labor platforms, that connect prospective employees with employers, are shaping the economy and influencing the health of participants.
The gig economy, which encompasses various freelance and temporary employment opportunities and is worth billions of dollars, is the future of the labor market. “It is important to understand how participants in gig economy platforms make decisions and how such decisions affect their health, as these platforms promise to become the future workplace for hundreds of millions of citizens,” said Hong.

Hong’s intersectional analysis of online gig economy platforms also seeks to identify gender and racial biases in the hiring process, while analyzing the health implications of technology-based employment. For many participants in the gig economy who jump from job to job, health insurance is not an option, and part of Hong’s research grant focuses on access to health insurance and how health issues are addressed in an economy that is increasingly shifting towards short-term employment. “Understanding health-related challenges faced by these workers will help us prescribe policy suggestions for online labor platforms to inform platform design,” said Hong.

Aside from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant, Hong recently received Arizona State University’s esteemed W.P. Carey Faculty Research Award, the first time a non-tenured, tenure-track faculty member has received the award.

Hong attributes his success to the intimate advisor-student relationship he had as a PhD student at Temple. Indeed, his current research is in part inspired by his research at the Fox School of Business, where he partnered with Dr. Paul Pavlou on a project, in collaboration with Freelancer.com, to publish two articles about their project in Information Systems Research.

“It is fair to say that without Paul’s effort in mentorship and guidance, none of my achievements would be possible.”Hong also notes that the academic rigor and exposure to different research methodologies during his time at Fox gave him the tools necessary to succeed. Hong’s seamless transition from PhD student to accomplished professor and researcher is a testament to his intellect and work ethic and reflects the high caliber of Fox PhD graduates.

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