Oxford Martin School’s Carl Benedikt Frey burst onto the public stage back in 2013 with a paper highlighting the risks various professions faced of automation in the coming years.
He has returned this week with a new paper that is no less contentious. Despite widespread protests against the sharing economy platform, the analysis revealed that the impact was muted.
Rising Incomes It's also noticeable that Uber drivers were found to earn more than those in traditional taxi services.
This is largely due to the fact that the Uber software allows drivers to better optimize their time and services.
“Uber is the flagship of the sharing economy,” Frey says.
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“But what our study shows is that even in one of the sharing economy’s most exposed industries, traditional jobs have not been displaced.In many jurisdictions, they cannot vary their prices in response to consumer demand. They are trapped between maintaining their existing systems, which severely restrict competition but provide for oversight and public safety, and the demands of consumers, who are attracted to the low prices and high service levels of innovative new providers.Some regulators have tried to use law enforcement and the court system to bring everyone up to the existing standard of regulated taxis, with mixed results for businesses and more negative results for consumers.Of course, fascinating though the data is, it does simplify matters somewhat as it looks at the issue through the relatively confined prism of employment. It doesn't, for instance, examine the total number of journeys undertaken across both licensed taxis and sharing economy platforms.In much of the discourse around this issue, the suggestion seems to be that the market is of a fixed size, and therefore Uber drivers are taking income from licensed drivers. I suspect however, that the reality is that Uber et al have significantly increased the size of the market, especially in off-peak times where dissatisfaction with licensed drivers is at its peak.This demands a re‑think of existing regulations to provide an even playing field upon which ride providers can compete.Ultimately, regulations on taxis need to be relaxed, and regulations on new providers may need to be increased to ensure that legitimate policy objectives like public safety are met.The source of the current friction in the Canadian taxi industry is the lack of an even playing field. But then you have new providers who do not follow similar rules.Traditional taxi operators are constrained by regulations. This leaves the regulators, Canadian municipalities and provinces, in a tough spot.In much of the discourse around this issue, the suggestion seems to be that the market is of a fixed size, and therefore Uber drivers are taking income from licensed drivers.I suspect however, that the reality is that Uber et al have significantly increased the size of the market, especially in off-peak times where dissatisfaction with licensed drivers is at its peak.