Databite No. 115: Carmen Rojas, Rachel Schneider, Tamara K. Nopper

Redefining Benefits for Future Workers

10.03.18 - 4:00 pm

Data & Society Research Institute
New York, New York

RSVP is required.Data & Society's Databites speaker series is geared toward engaging our network and the broader public on unresolved questions and timely topics of interest to the D&S community. Questions? Contact [email protected]

Silicon Valley hopes to leverage data in order to disrupt the credit systems that many low-wage workers rely on. But at what cost?

Data & Society welcomes The Workers Lab Co-Founder and CEO Carmen Rojas; Entrepreneur and Author Rachel Schneider; and Professor, Researcher, and Activist Tamara K. Nopper to discuss the intersection of fintech and credit and benefit systems for low-wage workers with Data & Society Labor Engagement Lead Aiha Nguyen.

Rojas and Schneider both focus on the financial challenges facing precarious low-wage workers–including “gig” workers–and these workers might need different benefits than have traditionally been provided, like retirement. Nopper offers insight into the world of credit scoring and data, analyzing how fintech “innovation” intersects with race, class, and gender wealth gaps. Nguyen is an organizer who works to bridge research and practice, expanding understanding of technological systems’ impact on work. Together, they will discuss questions such as:

  • How will current and projected income volatility in the gig economy change available workplace benefits?
  • What role could fintech play on the future of work? Can workers be a part of shaping that future?
  • What data will low-income working families need to give up in order to have access to capital–and will it be worth it?

This public event is the second in a fall conversation series at Data & Society on themes from Social Instabilities in Labor Futures, the new Data & Society research initiative that recently released the ethnographic report Beyond Disruption: How Tech Shapes Labor Across Domestic Work & Ridehailing.


3:30pm Doors open.

4-5pm Public talk + Q&A.

5-7pm Reception: snacks and sips provided.


Dr. Carmen Rojas is the Co-Founder and CEO of The Workers Lab, an organization that invests in experiments and innovation to build power for working people in the 21st century. For more than 20 years, Carmen has worked with foundations, financial institutions, and non-profits to improve the lives of working people across the United States.

Carmen currently sits on the boards of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Neighborhood Funders Group, General Service Foundation, JOLT, Certification Associates, and on the Advisory Boards of Fund Good Jobs and Floodgate Academy.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007.

Rachel Schneider is the Omidyar Network Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program and co-author of The Financial Diaries: How American Families Cope in a World of Uncertainty. Rachel’s research has been featured in the nation’s top publications, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and many others. Though she began her career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch & Co., Rachel credits her commitment to the potential for innovative finance to solve major social problems from her days as a VISTA Volunteer (now AmeriCorps). She holds a J.D./M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from UC Berkeley.

Tamara K. Nopper has a PhD in Sociology and her teaching and research focuses on the intersection of economic, racial, and gender inequality, with a particular emphasis on entrepreneurship, banking, globalization, urban development, and money and surveillance. Her publications have examined immigrant entrepreneurship, minority business development, the globalization of ethnic banking, and Asian American communities. Her current work looks at Korean immigrant entrepreneurship and post-Civil Rights era minority politics.


The Social Instabilities in Labor Futures research initiative at Data & Society seeks to better understand emergent disruptions in the labor force as a result of data-centric technological development, with a special focus on structural inequalities. Its team recently released the report Beyond Disruption: How Tech Shapes Labor Across Domestic Work & Ridehailing–as featured in the New York Times, NPR All Things Considered, and The Nation. Subscribe to the Updates in Labor & Tech newsletter here.


Data & Society is an independent nonprofit research institute that advances public understanding of the social implications of data-centric technologies. The Data & Society “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.

RSVP is required to attend. Watch the livestream here.

Questions about Databite No. 115? Contact Data & Society Research Institute.

Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may contact [email protected] in advance of the event.


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