NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers

Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond, Jonathan Hall, John A. List, Paul Oyer

NBER Working Paper No. 24732
Issued in June 2018
NBER Program(s):Law and Economics Program, Labor Studies Program

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24732

 
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