The Demand for Mobility: Evidence from an Experiment with Uber Riders

78 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2021

See all articles by Peter Christensen

Peter Christensen

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Adam Osman

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Abstract

Changes in transport costs can affect mobility in ways that differ across the population, affecting the impacts of transport policies. We randomly assign large price reductions on Uber in Egypt over a 3-month period and collect comprehensive data on participant mobility using Google Timeline. A 50% price reduction quadruples Uber usage and induces a 42% increase in total travel. Effects and welfare gains are larger for women, who are less mobile at baseline and perceive public transit as unsafe. The price elasticity of private vehicle kilometers traveled (-1.28) implies that mobility and external costs increase substantially when ride-hailing prices fall.

JEL Classification: J16, J28, J61, Q55, R48

Suggested Citation

Christensen, Peter and Osman, Adam, The Demand for Mobility: Evidence from an Experiment with Uber Riders. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14179, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3803723 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3803723

Peter Christensen (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Adam Osman

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

30 Wadsworth Street, E53-320
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Economic Research Forum (ERF) ( email )

21 Al-Sad Al-Aaly St.
(P.O. Box: 12311)
Dokki, Cairo
Egypt

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