Connected in the Ride: An Empirical Investigation into Ride-Hailing Services and Hate Crimes
32 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2022
Date Written: March 17, 2022
Ride-hailing services have had a remarkable impact on various aspects of society, but little is known about their influence on hate crimes. We make use of the staggered time points when Uber services were introduced across the United States to create a difference-in-differences model. Our estimations show that Uber-like ride-hailing gigs can significantly reduce hate crimes by around 5.7%. Various robustness checks have been conducted to provide evidence supporting our findings. To uncover the underlying mechanics, we introduce the contact theory from psychology into the ride-hailing context. Uber services connect members from different groups (e.g., races) into each ride, which offers a natural chance for intergroup interaction. As a consequence, a better mutual understanding between groups is built up and prejudice against outgroup individuals is lessened, which leads to the decline of hate crimes. We further verify this contact-based mechanism from different angles, including providing direct evidence through the results of an online survey. This study has important theoretical and practical implications, through advancing our understanding of the effects of ride-hailing and guiding policy makers to combat hate crimes.
Keywords: Hate crime, ride-hailing service, contact theory, prejudice
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