Learning by Driving: Productivity Improvements by New York City Taxi Drivers
46 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2014 Last revised: 22 Nov 2014
Date Written: November 1, 2014
We study learning by doing (LBD) by New York City taxi drivers, who have substantial discretion over their driving strategies and receive compensation closely tied to their success in finding customers. In addition to documenting significant learning by these entrepreneurial agents, we exploit our data’s breadth to investigate heterogeneity in performance and the mechanisms of driver improvement. New drivers vary in their individual learning rates and as a group lag farther behind experienced drivers when in difficult situations. Drivers benefit from accumulating neighborhood-specific experience, which affects how they search for their next customers.
Keywords: learning by doing, specific human capital, taxis, big data
JEL Classification: D24, D83, J24, L92
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