MIT Research Found Low Pay for Uber Drivers to Be Revisited


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A Massachusetts Institute of Technology research group that this week reported nearly three-quarters of Uber Technologies and Lyft drivers earned below minimum wage is revisiting its study after a tweeted challenge by Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

The study, by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, found that drivers’ median pretax profit was $3.37 (roughly Rs. 220) per hour, using results from a survey of more than 1,100 workers of the ride-hailing companies.

Uber and Lyft have been battling complaints that they underpay their drivers. Uber and other companies have defended their business models saying their drivers enjoy the flexibility of their work and on average earn more than the minimum wage, but have lost a series of court cases on the issue.

Khosrowshahi criticized the MIT study in a tweet on Friday as “Mathematically Incompetent Theories (at least as it pertains to ride-sharing),” and linked to a response by Uber chief economist Jonathan Hall that challenged the study’s methodology.

The MIT study’s lead author, Stephen Zoepf, told Reuters in an email on Saturday,“I can see how the question on revenue might have been interpreted differently by respondents” and called Hall’s rebuttal thoughtful.

“I’m re-running the analysis this weekend using Uber’s more optimistic assumptions and should have new results and a public response acknowledging the discrepancy by Monday,” he wrote.

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