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The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy

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The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy

Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers


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The gig economy gives workers extraordinary flexibility, but gender pay disparity persists.

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On the surface, the gig economy would appear to be a great leveler of gender wage inequity. The rideshare business is a perfect example of an environment with flexible work schedules and no overt gender discrimination. Yet a pay gap remains, as scholars Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond and Paul Oyer, along with Uber and Lyft chief economists Jonathan V. Hall and John A. List, document in this rigorous study, which assesses the conditions that prevent women from achieving wage parity with men.


The high degree of work flexibility that Uber drivers enjoy should, according to popular perception, eliminate gender earnings gaps.

Uber formulates driver fares in a way that is gender neutral. Neither the compensation arrangement nor the process that pairs riders with drivers favors one gender over another. Additionally, remuneration is not a function of tenure or the number of hours worked. Wages are not subject to negotiation, and a gig job’s greater flexibility does not penalize the employee.

Prior research suggests that it is the inflexibility of working...

About the Authors

Cody Cook is a PhD student at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where Rebecca Diamond is an associate professor and Paul Oyer is a professor. Jonathan V. Hall is chief economist at Uber. John A. List is a professor at the University of Chicago and chief economist at Lyft.

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