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Prevent Uber drivers from soliciting tips to ensure fair earnings for black drivers

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Studies show that African-American workers are tipped less than white workers, including a Yale study finding black taxi drivers are tipped a third less than white drivers. Uber's recent settlement with drivers in California and Massachusetts permits them to solicit tips, which will increase the share of driver earnings coming from tips. If Yale's findings apply to Uber, this may result in black drivers receiving hundreds of dollars per year less than their white counterparts, depending on how prevalent tipping becomes.

Research from the restaurant industry has found other issues with tipping: it's correlated to sexual harassment against waitresses (notable for the 14% of Uber drivers who are female) and corruption, and nearly uncorrelated to service quality. While this research hasn't been replicated in taxis, it's plausible that the trends extend to transportation.

Due to Uber's dynamic pricing model matching supply and demand, increased tips are likely to be offset by reduced fares. We would expect this to ultimately reduce total earnings for black drivers.

Uber should remove the tip solicitation clause from their settlement to ensure their platform provides unbiased financial opportunity for all drivers.



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