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Uber vs. Taxi: A Driver’s Eye View

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Listed:
  • Joshua D. Angrist
  • Sydnee Caldwell
  • Jonathan V. Hall

Abstract

Ride-hailing drivers pay a proportion of their fares to the ride-hailing platform operator, a commission-based compensation model used by many internet-mediated service providers. To Uber drivers, this commission is known as the Uber fee. By contrast, traditional taxi drivers in most US cities make a fixed payment independent of their earnings, usually a weekly or daily medallion lease, but keep every fare dollar net of expenses. We assess these compensation models from a driver’s point of view using an experiment that offered random samples of Boston Uber drivers opportunities to lease a virtual taxi medallion that eliminates the Uber fee. Some drivers were offered a negative fee. Drivers’ labor supply response to our offers reveals a large intertemporal substitution elasticity, on the order of 1.2. At the same time, our virtual lease program was under-subscribed: many drivers who would have benefitted from buying an inexpensive lease chose to opt out. We use these results to compute the average compensation required to make drivers indifferent between ride-hailing and a traditional taxi compensation contract. The results suggest that ride-hailing drivers gain considerably from the opportunity to drive without leasing.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua D. Angrist & Sydnee Caldwell & Jonathan V. Hall, 2017. "Uber vs. Taxi: A Driver’s Eye View," NBER Working Papers 23891, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23891
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Uber vs. Taxi: A Driver’s Eye View
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2018-02-27 12:17:56

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexandre Mas & Amanda Pallais, 2017. "Labor Supply and the Value of Non-Work Time: Experimental Estimates from the Field," NBER Working Papers 23906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

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