Uber responds to MIT research on driver incomes

Uber’s Chief Economist Jonathan Hall has rebutted the claims made by the MIT Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy research that suggested that many of Uber’s drivers are making less than the US minimum wage.

Hall wrote a blog that took issues with the methods used in the research. He claimed the methodology resulted in “hourly earnings numbers that are far, far below what any previous study has found”.

Hall added: “It is important to note that we do not take issue with the paper’s estimation of costs. They are very much in line with previously-reported costs associated with driving. But the methodology used to arrive at the eye-poppingly low earnings numbers is deeply flawed.”

The MIT research lead on this project ,Stephen Zoepf, responded by conceding “Hall’s specific criticism is valid; in retrospect the survey questions could and should have been worded more clearly.”

Zoepf signed off his statement by saying: “In the spirit of collaboration, I ask the following from Uber, in keeping with the original objectives of this paper.

“(1) Help make an open, honest and public assessment of the range of ride-hailing driver profit after the cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining a vehicle.

“(2) Transparently present the difference between actual and tax-reportable vehicle expenses used in the business.

“In support of these goals I am happy to share existing cost data from this working paper with Uber or Lyft, or to incorporate full and accurate revenue data from Uber in this analysis should they decide to share such data.”