The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from Over a Million Rideshare Drivers

54 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2018 Last revised: 29 Jan 2021

See all articles by Cody Cook

Cody Cook

Stanford University

Rebecca Diamond

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Jonathan Hall

Uber Technologies Inc.

John A. List

University of Chicago - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Paul Oyer

Stanford Graduate School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

The growth of the “gig” economy generates worker flexibility that, some have speculated, will favor women. We explore this by examining labor supply choices and earnings among more than a million rideshare drivers on Uber in the U.S. We document a roughly 7% gender earnings gap amongst drivers. We completely explain this gap and show that it can be entirely attributed to three factors: experience on the platform (learning-by-doing), preferences over where to work (driven largely by where drivers live and, to a lesser extent, safety), and preferences for driving speed. We do not find that men and women are differentially affected by a taste for specific hours, a return to within-week work intensity, or customer discrimination. Our results suggest that there is no reason to expect the “gig” economy to close gender differences. Even in the absence of discrimination and in flexible labor markets, women’s relatively high opportunity cost of non-paid-work time and gender-based differences in preferences and constraints can sustain a gender pay gap.

Suggested Citation

Cook, Cody and Diamond, Rebecca and Hall, Jonathan and List, John A. and Oyer, Paul, The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from Over a Million Rideshare Drivers (June 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24732, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3202036

Cody Cook (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Rebecca Diamond

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Jonathan Hall

Uber Technologies Inc. ( email )

1455 Market St
San Francisco, CA 94103-1331
United States

John A. List

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Paul Oyer

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
650-736-1047 (Phone)
650-725-0468 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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