The Contract Work Module was designed to improve the information available on contract employment—including independent contractors and contract company workers—by asking questions that address the miscoding and underreporting problems with standard household survey questions. The Upjohn Institute contracted with the Gallup organization to add module questions to the Gallup Education Consumer Pulse Survey, a large, nationally representative telephone survey. Like the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Gallup survey collects employment information for a specified week (the seven days preceding the interview) and is an interviewer-administered survey, rather than an online survey. Unlike the CPS, the Gallup survey does not rely on proxy respondents.
The module consists of 14 questions that are interspersed, as appropriate, among the standard employment questions in the Gallup survey. In four cases, respondents were randomly assigned to receive one of two questions versions, which permits testing of the effects of alternate question phrasing on respondent answers.
The target population for the Gallup Education Consumer Pulse survey is adults aged 18–64, but during the periods that survey module was in the field, Gallup asked core survey questions together with the module questions of individuals aged 18–80. Gallup administered the module in four waves spread at roughly three-month intervals across a year. In each wave of data collection, Gallup fielded module questions until about 15,000 completed interviews were obtained, roughly a month in each case. The first wave was administered from mid-May through mid-June 2018, the second wave from mid-August through mid-September 2018, the third wave from mid-November through mid-December 2018, and the fourth and final wave from late February through late March 2019. Across the four waves, the survey collected information on contract and informal work from some 61,000 respondents, more than any other household survey that has investigated related topics other than the Contingent Worker Supplement to the CPS.
These published data include information from the Contract Work Module and other employment questions included on the standard Gallup survey as well as basic demographic information. More detail on this module may be found in The Independent Contractor Workforce: New Evidence on Its Size and Composition and Ways to Improve Its Measurement in Household Surveys and Contract Work at Older Ages.