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The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers

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Listed:
  • Cody Cook
  • Rebecca Diamond
  • Jonathan Hall
  • John List
  • Paul Oyer

Abstract

The growth of the "gig" economy generates worker flexibility that, some have speculated, will favor women. We explore one facet of the gig economy by examining labor supply choices and earnings among more than a million rideshare drivers on Uber in the U.S. Perhaps most surprisingly, we find that there is a roughly 7% gender earnings gap among drivers. The uniqueness of our data - knowing exactly the production and compensation functions - permits us to completely unpack the underlying determinants of the gender earnings gap. We find that the entire gender gap is caused by three factors: experience on the platform (learning-by-doing), preferences over where/when to work, and preferences for driving speed. This suggests that, as the gig economy grows and brings more flexibility in employment, women's relatively high opportunity cost of non-paid-work time and gender-based preference differences can perpetuate a gender earnings gap even in the absence of discrimination.

Suggested Citation

  • Cody Cook & Rebecca Diamond & Jonathan Hall & John List & Paul Oyer, 2018. "The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers," Natural Field Experiments 00634, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00634
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    Cited by:

    1. Susan Athey & Michael Luca, 2019. "Economists (and Economics) in Tech Companies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 209-230, Winter.
    2. Kevin A. Bryan & Joshua S. Gans, 2019. "A theory of multihoming in rideshare competition," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 89-96, January.
    3. Tang, Johnny Jiahao, 2020. "Individual heterogeneity and cultural attitudes in credence goods provision," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    4. Paul Oyer, 2020. "The gig economy," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 471-471, January.
    5. Bharat K. Chandar & Ali Hortaçsu & John A. List & Ian Muir & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2019. "Design and Analysis of Cluster-Randomized Field Experiments in Panel Data Settings," NBER Working Papers 26389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Henao, Alejandro & Marshall, Wesley E., 2019. "An analysis of the individual economics of ride-hailing drivers," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 440-451.
    7. Basil Halperin & Benjamin Ho & John List & Ian Muir, 2018. "Toward an understanding of the economics of apologies: evidence from a large-scale natural field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00644, The Field Experiments Website.
    8. Yang Pan & LiangFei Qiu, 2018. "Is Uber Helping or Hurting Mass Transit? An Empirical Investigation," Working Papers 18-11, NET Institute.
    9. Sabrina T. Howell & Ramana Nanda, 2019. "Networking Frictions in Venture Capital, and the Gender Gap in Entrepreneurship," NBER Working Papers 26449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Abel, Martin, 2019. "Do Workers Discriminate against Female Bosses?," IZA Discussion Papers 12611, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Yana Gallen, 2018. "Motherhood and the Gender Productivity Gap," Working Papers 2018-091, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    12. Ni Huang & Gordon Burtch & Yili Hong & Paul A. Pavlou, 2020. "Unemployment and Worker Participation in the Gig Economy: Evidence from an Online Labor Market," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 31(2), pages 431-448, June.
    13. François Contensou & Radu Vranceanu, 2019. "Working time and wage rate differences : a contract theory approach," Working Papers hal-02386781, HAL.
    14. Chen Liang & Yili Hong & Bin Gu & Jing Peng, 2018. "Gender Wage Gap in Online Gig Economy and Gender Differences in Job Preferences," Working Papers 18-03, NET Institute.
    15. David P. Baron, 2018. "Disruptive Entrepreneurship and Dual Purpose Strategies: The Case of Uber," Strategy Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(2), pages 439-462, June.
    16. Adams-Prassl, Abigail, 2020. "The Gender Wage Gap on an Online Labour Market: The Cost of Interruptions," CEPR Discussion Papers 14294, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Maria Cesira Urzi Brancati & Annarosa Pesole & Enrique Férnandéz-Macías, 2020. "New evidence on platform workers in Europe: Results from the second COLLEEM survey," JRC Working Papers JRC118570, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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