Deshpande Elected Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance


The Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics congratulates Manasi Deshpande, newly elected Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. Shaun O'Brien, Chair of NASI's Membership Committee states, “Our newly-elected Members include some of the nation’s leading experts and most creative problem solvers in social insurance and inequality, which is the Academy’s overarching theme and a critical challenge for our country.” The organization's stated mission is "to advance solutions to challenges facing the nation by increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security," including established programs such as "Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, as well as related areas of healthcare policy, long-term services and supports, paid leave, other social assistance programs, and private employee benefits." (Photo courtesy of the Becker Friedman Institute)

Study Finds Gender Pay Gap Among Uber Drivers

Using a sample of over 1 million drivers, a team of researchers from the University of Chicago's Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, Stanford University, and Uber found the platform's male drivers earn about 7 percent more than do women. The team noted that Uber’s payment algorithm does not factor in gender, so payments should be equal between men and women for the same amount of driving; passenger ratings also do not affect drivers' pay. Department Chair John List and the study's coauthors recently spoke with the Freakonomics Radio podcast, explaining that if there were any driver pay gap, he would expect it to favor women: “I knew that [women] had worked fewer hours per week [in their other jobs], so they had a chance to cherry-pick the better hours during the week [when working for Uber].” So what might cause the difference in drivers' pay? The study offers three factors: length of experience working with Uber, where and when drivers choose to work, and driving speed. Access the new working paper: "The Gender Earnings Gap in the Gig Economy: Evidence from over a Million Rideshare Drivers," from Cody Cook, Rebecca Diamond, Jonathan Hall, John A. List, and Paul Oyer.

Using Field Experiments to Save Fuel and Money: Virgin Airlines Named a 2018 Sustainability Leader

Using field experiments developed by the team of John List and Robert Metcalfe at the University of Chicago, and Greer Gosnell at the London School of Economics, Virgin Atlantic Airlines created a new behavioral change approach to delivering fuel and carbon efficiency information to its pilots. Over an eight month intervention period, the company was able to reduce consumption by more than 6,800 metric tonnes of fuel and 21,500 metric tonnes of CO2, as well as (GBP) £3,309,489 in economic savings. For their success in reducing carbon emissions, the airline was named a 2018 EDIE Sustainability Leader in the Employee Engagement and Sustainability Award category: "The experiment involved a huge volume of data - more than 40,000 unique flights and 110,000 captain-level behavioural observations were analysed using econometric methods that looked at a number of variables, such as weather and aircraft flown. For the project, pilots were split randomly into four groups. The first group carried on with a business-as-usual approach, while the other three groups were sent monthly information on three sets of behaviours: take-off, in the air and upon arrival, along with personalised feedback about their fuel efficiency practices." Read the results of the team's study in their NBER Working Paper, "A New Approach to an Age-Old Problem: Solving Externalities by Incenting Workers Directly."

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