The Value of Time: Evidence From Auctioned Cab Rides
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NBER Working Paper No. 27087
We recover valuations of time using detailed data from a large ride-hail platform, where drivers bid on trips and consumers choose between a set of rides with different prices and waiting times. We estimate demand as a function of prices and waiting times and find that price elasticities are substantially higher than waiting-time elasticities. We show how these estimates can be mapped into values of time that vary by place, person, and time of day. We find that the value of time during non-work hours is 16% lower than during work hours. Most of the heterogeneity in the value of time, however, is explained by individual differences. We apply our estimates to study optimal time incentives in highway procurement. Standard industry practices, which set incentives based on a uniform value of time, lead to mis-priced time costs by up to ninety percent.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27087