Like Yahoo and Google, Uber offers access to the kind of data that, as recently as 10 years ago, an economist could only dream of. Uber’s more than 3 million drivers provide roughly 15 million trips, globally, every day. Uber’s researchers can test vital questions about driver pay, customer satisfaction, and urban transit with tiny tweaks to the company’s algorithms.
Uber doesn’t police what its collaborators write or publish, but it is choosy about who it works with. It’s no coincidence that Ubernomics tends to study the thorniest matters facing the company. The goal is to “build a body of evidence and then build a global policy framework around that,” said Amit Singh, Uber’s head of global public policy. Insofar as there’s bias in the research, it comes not in the results, but from the questions that are asked.