Labor Market Equilibration: Evidence from Uber

    Abstract

    Using a city-week panel of US ride-sharing markets created by Uber, we estimate the effects of sudden fare changes on market outcomes, focusing on the supply-side. We explore both the short-run dynamics of market adjustment, as well as the eventual long-run equilibrium. We find that the driver hourly earnings rate—essentially the market equilibrium wage—moves immediately in the same direction as a fare change, but that these effects are short-lived. The prevailing wage returns to its pre-change level within about 8 weeks. This return is achieved primarily through permanent changes in driver “utilization,” or the fraction of hours-worked that are spent transporting passengers. Our results imply that the driver supply of labor to ride-sharing markets is highly elastic, most likely because drivers face no quantity restrictions on how many hours to supply and new drivers face minimal barriers to entry.

    Authors

    Jonathan Hall, John Horton, Daniel Knoepfle

    Full Paper

    ‘Labor Market Equilibration: Evidence from Uber’ (PDF)

    Economics and Market Design

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