Uber Drivers Not Immune to Pay Gap

Researchers find women drivers at the ride-sharing firm aren't earning as much as their male counterparts, too.
By: | February 9, 2018 • 2 min read

If you think the gig economy might be the answer to gender wage disparity, think again—at least when it comes to a car-sharing service such as Uber.

Research conducted by two economists from the University of Chicago found that men working for Uber earned 7 percent more per hour than women, despite the firm’s reportedly gender-blind algorithm for work assignments.

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More precisely, the study of more than 2 million drivers, titled The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy, found men earned $21.28 an hour while women were paid $20.04 an hour.

“When starting the research we could see it going either way: Women might earn a bit less because they would want to work at specific, and potentially less lucrative, times that fit their other obligations better,” says John A. List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics at the University of Chicago and co-author of a working paper on the research. “Alternatively, women tend to work fewer hours so they might have a chance to cherry pick and focus their hours during the most lucrative times.”

In the end, the researchers found other factors at work in determining pay, such as the value of on-the-job learning and driving speeds. They included:

∙ Male drivers work more—17.98 hours a week compared to 12.82 a week for women. The researchers said this, in turn, gave them an edge in learning how to choose potential passengers based on how far the driver has to travel to pick them up, the distance to the intended destination and other factors that can influence pay. A fully experienced driver, they said, earns about $3 more an hour than a driver with 500 or fewer trips.

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