Offender or Guardian? An Empirical Analysis of Ride-Sharing and Sexual Assault

43 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2017 Last revised: 30 Mar 2018

See all articles by Jiyong Park

Jiyong Park

KAIST College of Business

Junetae Kim

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Min-Seok Pang

Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems

Byungtae Lee

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

Date Written: April 10, 2017

Abstract

Sexual assault is the most repellant and costliest crime that inflicts irrecoverable harms to victims. This study examines the effect of IT-enabled ride-sharing platforms on sexual assaults. Drawing upon routine activity theory from the criminology literature, we posit that a ride-sharing platform can serve as a capable guardian that deters sexual assaults by reducing a passenger’s risk of being a suitable target. Using comprehensive data from New York City, we investigate the relationship between Uber transactions and rape incidents in 2015. For our identification strategy, we adopt subway service suspension and local air pollution as instruments. Our findings show that the number of Uber pickups is negatively associated with the likelihood of rape occurrences. While this deterrent impact is found to be insignificant in taxi-dense areas (Manhattan), ride-sharing contributes to a more significant reduction in rape in taxi-sparse areas (the outer boroughs). In addition, the deterrent effect of ride-sharing is stronger in neighborhoods with lower incomes and a higher percentage of non-White population. This study sheds new light on the potential of IT-enabled platforms to improve social well-being beyond its economic contributions.

Keywords: Uber, Ride-Sharing, Sharing Economy, Sexual Assault, Criminology, Routine Activity Theory, Societal Impacts of IS

Suggested Citation

Park, Jiyong and Kim, Junetae and Pang, Min-Seok and Lee, Byungtae, Offender or Guardian? An Empirical Analysis of Ride-Sharing and Sexual Assault (April 10, 2017). KAIST College of Business Working Paper Series No. 2017-006; Fox School of Business Research Paper No. 18-010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2951138 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2951138

Jiyong Park

KAIST College of Business ( email )

85 Hoegiro, Dongdaemoon-gu
Seoul, 130-722
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Junetae Kim

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722

Min-Seok Pang (Contact Author)

Temple University - Department of Management Information Systems ( email )

1810 N. 13th Street
Floor 2
Philadelphia, PA 19128
United States
215-204-3059 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/minspang

Byungtae Lee

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) ( email )

373-1 Kusong-dong
Yuson-gu
Taejon 305-701, 130-722

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