The extent to which workers respond to higher wage rates is important for our understanding of the determinants of income and for understanding the dynamics of business cycles. The researchers conducted a series of randomized experiments in collaboration with a national ridesharing company to produce experimental estimates of intensive and extensive margin labor supply elasticities for men and women.
The researchers found that higher wages did not have large impacts on whether drivers chose to work in a given week. In response to a ten percent increase in wages, female drivers were at most two percentage points more likely to drive, relative to one percentage point for men. However, wage increases did increase overall hours worked, especially for women. In response to a ten percent increase in wages, female drivers drove roughly eight percentage points more, relative to four percentage points for men. The wage increase affected hours worked for drivers with a range of normal driving habits, including both drivers that would have otherwise driven fewer than 5 hours that week and drivers that would have otherwise driven more than 40 hours that week. The differences between male and female drivers were not driven by differences in usual hours worked, in age, or in other observable characteristics.