There's not a lot of tipping happening on Uber, and there seems to be little drivers can do about it. Just 15% of rides are tipped, and a majority of Uber passengers never tip their drivers, newly released data on tipping shows.
Sixty percent of riders who took at least 10 trips never threw any change their drivers' way during the period studied, according to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Just 1% of riders always tipped their drivers, the study found.
in June 2017, allowing to discretely leave something extra for their drivers after a ride was completed. Researchers analyzed more than 40 million tipping outcomes on the app over four weeks during the summer of 2017. The NBER working paper, "The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment," was authored by Stanford University economist Bharat Chandar, University of California at San Diego economist Uri Gneezy as well as two economists now working for Uber competitor Lyft, John List and Ian Muir.
Average tip among tippers: $3
Tipping tendencies have more to do with a rider's gender and other qualities than they do their drivers or in-vehicle experiences, the authors found. "Overall, the demand-side explains much more of the observed tipping variation than the supply-side," they wrote.
Men were found to be better tippers than women. Male passengers tipped their drivers 17% of the time, compared to women who tipped just over 14% of the time.
The average tip among those who tipped was close to $3.
Passenger characteristics, including their genders and profile ratings "are about 3 times as informative of the amount tipped as driver characteristics," Chandar wrote in a blog post about the paper.
"Knowing who the rider is on a trip is much more predictive of the tip amount than knowing who the driver is," he wrote. That held true across various cities in the United States.
Not surprisingly, higher-rated riders tipped more, as did riders who were new to the app.
It pays to be young and female
Female drivers stood out for taking in more in tips than younger male drivers, but that gap was found to shrink with age.
Both male and female riders were found to tip women more, but only male riders responded to a female driver's age. Men were found to tip younger women about seven cents — or 14% — more on average than older women.
Still, good service did not go unnoticed.
Picking up a rider on time and delivering a smooth ride with few hard brakes and accelerations correlated with better tips.
Repeat customers also tipped their drivers more. Riders, on average, tipped 27% more the second time they were matched with a driver, because they had established a social connection, or perhaps to "avoid bad or awkward encounters in the future," Chandar wrote in his blog post.
Riders who used the app in a language other than English tipped less, the study found — though no concrete reason was given as to why. Similarly, drivers whose default app language is not English were tipped less well.