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Racial discrimination in transportation network companies

Yanbo Ge, Christopher R. Knittel, Don MacKenzie and Stephen Zoepf

Journal of Public Economics, 2020, vol. 190, issue C

Abstract: In a randomized audit study, we sent passengers in Boston, MA on nearly 1000 rides on controlled routes using the Uber and Lyft smartphone apps, recording key performance metrics. Passengers randomly selected between accounts that used African American-sounding and white-sounding names. We find that the probability an Uber driver accepts a ride, sees the name, and then cancels doubles when passengers used the account attached to the African American-sounding name. In contrast, Lyft drivers observe the name before accepting a ride and, as expected, we find no effect of name on cancellations. We do not, however, find that the increase in cancellations leads to measurably longer wait times for Uber.

Keywords: Discrimination; Audit study; Field experiment; Transportation network company; Peer economy; Sharing economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 J16 L90 R40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104205

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:190:y:2020:i:c:s0047272720300694