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An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber’s Driver-Partners in the United States

  • Jonathan V. Hall

    (Uber Technologies)

  • Alan B. Krueger

    (Princeton University)

Registered author(s):

    This paper provides the first comprehensive analysis of Uber’s driver-partners, based on both survey data and anonymized, aggregated administrative data. Uber has grown at an exponential rate over the last few years, and drivers who partner with Uber appear to be attracted to the platform in large part because of the flexibility it offers, the level of compensation, and the fact that earnings per hour do not vary much with hours worked, which facilitates part-time and variable hours. Uber’s driver-partners are more similar in terms of their age and education to the general workforce than to taxi drivers and chauffeurs. Uber may serve as a bridge for many seeking other employment opportunities, and it may attract well-qualified individuals because, with Uber’s star rating system, driver-partners’ reputations are explicitly shared with potential customers. Most of Uber’s driver-partners had full- or part-time employment prior to joining Uber, and many continued in those positions after starting to drive with the Uber platform, which makes the flexibility to set their own hours all the more valuable. Uber’s driver-partners also often cited the desire to smooth fluctuations in their income as a reason for partnering with Uber.

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    File URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp010z708z67d
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    Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 587.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2015
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    Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:587
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    1. Vincent P Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers’ Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002281, David K. Levine.
    2. Colin Camerer & Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein & Richard Thaler, 1997. "Labor Supply of New York City Cabdrivers: One Day at a Time," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 407-441.
    3. Farber, Henry S, 2014. "Why You Can't Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers," IZA Discussion Papers 8562, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Henry S. Farber, 2014. "Why You Can't Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers," Working Papers 583a, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    5. Henry S. Farber, 2014. "Why You Can't Find a Taxi in the Rain and Other Labor Supply Lessons from Cab Drivers," NBER Working Papers 20604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Reference-Dependent Preferences and Labor Supply: The Case of New York City Taxi Drivers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1069-82, June.
    7. Chou, Y.K., 2000. "Testing Alternative Models of Labor Supply. Evidence from Taxi-Drivers in Singapore," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 768, The University of Melbourne.
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