Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Though the gender pay gap in the United States has narrowed considerably over the past four decades, it has not closed entirely. By one estimate, women in the U.S. earn 88 cents on the dollar when compared to similar men in similar jobs.
One oft-cited factor driving this disparity is flexibility, or the lack thereof, in traditional work arrangements, leading many to speculate that the growth of the “gig” economy and flexible work will favor women and, perhaps, contribute to a further narrowing of the economy-wide gender pay gap through greater access to work opportunities. After several conversations, we realized Uber presented a tremendous opportunity to study this important question.
The working paper we are releasing today, “The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers,” written in collaboration with Professor John A. List of the University of Chicago* and Professor Paul Oyer of Stanford University, is the product of a multi-year, first-of-its-kind exploration into the existence of a gender earnings gap on the Uber platform and its underlying causes.
Using Uber’s rich datasets, we examined a sample of more than one million drivers in the United States between January 2015 and March 2017. We find that there is a roughly 7% gender earnings gap amongst drivers. However, our unique data permit us to completely unpack the underlying causes of the gender earnings gap, which we outline and explain in further detail below. As we state in the paper:
“Beyond measuring the gender earnings gap and unpacking it completely in an important labor market, our simple analysis provides insights into the roots of the gender earnings gap and… the share of the gap that can be explained by each factor.”