The American economy is changing, and millennials’ attitudes about work and their careers are changing with it. The rapid rise of the so-called “sharing economy” embodies many young Americans’ new economic ideal—one driven by technology, convenience, and flexibility.

Companies such as Uber and Airbnb offer the technical platform and support to allow transactions between buyers and sellers easily to take place. For this reason, these types of companies are often referred to as “intermediaries.” Those who partner with intermediaries are classified as independent contractors, not employees.

The flexibility that independent contractor status offers workers is vital to the sharing economy’s success. While some workers use these platforms full time, the vast majority use them for part-time work or supplemental income. About 8 in 10 Lyft drivers choose to drive 15 hours a week or less, and half of Uber drivers use the platform for less than 10 hours a week.

Read the rest on Economics 21, here.