Even though ride-share company Uber launched the option to tip drivers over two years ago, recent research shows riders choose to tip less than one-fifth of the time. According to a new working paper co-authored by John List of the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, Uber customers tip on roughly 16% of rides. Those who do tip add an average of $3.11, about 26% of their fare. The paper also found that nearly 60% of ride-share customers never tip, while only about 1% always tip.

Field experiments provide an empirical look at consumer behavior that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. In this case, we found clear differences in tipping behavior informed by environmental and demographic factors, such as gender, age and race.     -- John List

The paper, available here, examined UberX trips from Aug. 18, 2017 to Sept. 14, 2017. A pioneer in the use of field experiments, List and his fellow researchers helped design and implement in-app tipping for Uber. That gave them a chance to generate data during the rollout of the feature in 2017, collecting information from more than 40 million trips. Previously the chief economist at Uber, List now serves in the same role at Lyft. (Credit: UChicago News/Jack Wang)

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