Don’t Fake It If You Can’t Make It: Driver Misconduct in Last Mile Delivery

33 Pages Posted: 1 Jul 2022 Last revised: 18 Mar 2024

Date Written: March 12, 2024


In the last two decades, last-mile delivery (LMD) firms have seen immense growth fueled by the success of e-commerce, leading to faster and cheaper deliveries. Operating on thin margins, LMD firms strive for successful first-time deliveries to avoid the financial and reputational costs of reattempts. Delivery Agents (DAs) are integral to LMD efficiency, influencing customer experience, delivery success, and productivity. However, most LMD performance enhancement research focuses on process, technology, and incentives, which presume workers will conform to procedures and monitoring tools will function flawlessly. Nevertheless, in practice, DAs deviate from expected behaviors, i.e., indulge in misconduct, negatively affecting delivery efficiency, often resulting in returned parcels. One of the major misconducts is fake remarked deliveries, wherein DAs intentionally do not deliver the parcels and provide a fake reason for it. For instance, even without reaching a delivery address, a DA remarks ‘customer unavailable’ and records a delivery failure. In this study, we collaborated with a leading Indian LMD firm and, using instrumental variable regression, find that such misconduct leads to a spillover productivity loss. This effect reduces the next day’s successful deliveries by 1.60% and first-time-right deliveries by 1.86%. We discuss misconduct’s correlation with factors such as task complexity and offer novel insights into how opportunistic circumstances can influence worker behavior.

Keywords: Last-mile Delivery, Platforms, Behavioral Operations, Misconduct, Productivity

Suggested Citation

Arora, Srishti and Choudhary, Vivek and Kireyev, Pavel, Don’t Fake It If You Can’t Make It: Driver Misconduct in Last Mile Delivery (March 12, 2024). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2024/13/TOM/MKT, Available at SSRN: or

Srishti Arora

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance

Vivek Choudhary

Nanyang Business School ( email )

College of Business, NTU,
Singapore, 639798


Pavel Kireyev (Contact Author)

INSEAD ( email )

Boulevard de Constance
77305 Fontainebleau Cedex


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