Spring 2019 Journal: Driving Through Crisis – Gig Work During Recession

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This article is the fourth article featured in our Spring 2019 journal. For the complete journal, please see the “Current Issue” tab above.

By Heather Regen

Edited by: Spencer Bowen, Adam Buchholz, and Joony Moon

Debates around the “gig economy” appear new in the United States, but this kind of informal employment has long felt normal in many Latin American countries. Brazil provides an illustrative case of gig work’s important function during an economic recession. While not perfect, the driving jobs that Uber created there have helped many unemployed people get back to work quickly and easily. Drivers benefitted when they could make more choices with regards to their work, and public policies that encourage healthy market competition between rideshare companies can support driver choice.


For 13 years, Tiago* built a successful career in sales, working with clients from furniture manufacturers to software companies. Then Brazil’s economic crisis hit, and he lost his job. “I adore Uber,” Tiago said. “Especially because in Brazil we have so many people out of work, so much unemployment. If you have the opportunity to buy a car, start working for Uber — you can’t miss that opportunity.” After renting a car to start driving with Uber, Tiago eventually saved enough money to buy his own vehicle.

Over two weeks in August 2018, I interviewed 16 Uber drivers in South America’s largest city. Due to its scale and Uber’s presence, São Paulo provides a dynamic view into how the San Francisco-based rideshare company operates in Brazilian urban centers. Twelve million people call the megacity home and more than 150,000 Uber drivers make their living on its streets [1]. In terms of rides hailed, São Paulo ranks as Uber’s largest urban market in the world [2]. Brazil itself is the company’s most lucrative market outside of the United States, and Uber holds an 80 percent market share in Brazil’s rideshare sector [3].

To get a (quite literal) street-level view of drivers’ experiences, I interviewed them as we rode across São Paulo — and as we stalled in the city’s notorious traffic. To find a diverse selection of people to interview, I hailed drivers directly through Uber’s app at different times of the day, on different days of the week, and in different neighborhoods of São Paulo. I spoke with drivers for about 20 minutes each and approached the conversations as semi-structured interviews. Drivers spoke freely about their experience working with Uber in between answering questions about their employment history, driving schedules, and earnings. Though I never directly asked about the country’s recession, every single driver brought up Brazil’s ongoing economic crisis.

Again and again, drivers expressed relief at having the opportunity to work and the ability to pay their bills thanks to Uber. Though I did not set out to study ridesharing in conjunction with Brazil’s economic crisis, the interviews made clear that the nature of gig jobs cannot be separated from the context of where the work is carried out. Given the backdrop of recession, Uber created flexible jobs with decent wages for people who could not find work elsewhere. Many drivers expressed an overwhelmingly positive view of the rideshare company; however, some also reported stress about work hours and concerns for their safety. Drivers benefitted when they could make more choices with regards to their work. This article will explore how policies that encourage healthy market competition between rideshare companies can support driver choice.

The Brazilian crisis in context

Uber launched its Brazilian operations in 2014 — the same year that Brazil began slipping into its worst-ever recession [4,5]. Just five years before the recession, however, the world viewed Brazil as a model for emerging economies. In 2009, The Economist ran a cover story on the rapidly rising country, titled “Brazil takes off” [6]. Oil discovery, a commodities boom, and access to cheaper credit meant that the 2008 global financial crisis barely affected the world’s fifth largest country. In 2010, then-president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (best known simply as “Lula”) left office with an 83 percent approval rating [7]. Under his tenure, Brazil became a net creditor and substantially grew its middle class.

When Lula’s protégé, Dilma Rousseff, took office in 2011, global prices for raw materials plunged. With an economy still dependent on exporting commodities such as soy, corn, and iron ore, Brazil suffered. The sweeping Lava Jato (or “Carwash”) investigation into the state-run oil company compounded existing political conflict. Although Rousseff won a second term in 2014, widespread corruption, a faltering economy, and political maneuvering by opponents led to her controversial impeachment in 2016. By then, unemployment had risen to 12 percent, with 12.3 million people out of work [8]. The Brazilian real, once exchanged at about 2:1 with the U.S. dollar, sank to a 4:1 exchange rate in 2016 [9].

Though the government declared an end to the recession in 2017, Brazil’s unemployment rate continued to rise to 13.7 percent that March, with 14.2 million people actively searching for work [10]. For young adults and those with less training and education, the numbers proved worse: one in four were unemployed in 2017 [11]. Even today, Brazil has not fully recovered. The country’s economic struggles manifest most visibly in many Brazilians’ continued search for work.

“When people lose their jobs, they turn to Uber”

In one interview, a driver named Marcos praised God for having work. “I am really content. I thank God, and I’m glad,” he said. The young driver had worked with Uber for a year after losing several jobs as a motorcycle delivery person for small companies. During the crisis, Marcos found the job market particularly difficult given his lack of higher education. “Uber opened a door for me, and I’ve taken advantage of it to the fullest. I didn’t go to college,” Marcos explained. His and other drivers’ appreciation ultimately reflects relief at having any work at all.

Amidst Brazil’s crisis, Uber happened to arrive at exactly the right moment. The ride-hailing service offers an opportunity for many unemployed Brazilians to get back to work quickly. In São Paulo, the main requirements for beginning as a driver with a transport network company include a 16-hour in-app training course and a car inspection [12]. This policy facilitates easy entry into driving as opposed to working as a traditional taxi driver, which requires 46 hours of in-person training and can cost upwards of $35,000 USD due to medallion costs and fees [13].

In the larger scheme of labor, the difference between driving for Uber and working a traditional job comes down to worker classification. Brazil’s Labor Code of 1943 first laid out protections for workers; then, during Brazil’s re-democratization process, the country’s 1988 Constitution ensured labor rights for all formal employees. Because of these frameworks, formally employed workers enjoy substantial benefits. Once an employee officially registers their contract and receives a labor card from their employer, they are entitled to a range of strong protections and benefits [14]. These include a maximum working week of 44 hours, overtime pay for additional hours, 30 days of paid vacation, maternity leave, and severance compensation if employees are let go for any reason beyond the quality of their work.

Though generous, Brazil’s labor code also creates hiring disincentives for formal-sector employers. Work done off the books or by temporary contract effectively avoids restrictions, and this type of informal labor has thrived for the last 30 years in Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America. A substantial share of Brazilian workers — 40–60 percent, depending on metrics — falls into the informal sector [15]. While debates around the “gig economy” appear new in the United States, this kind of employment has long felt normal in many Latin American countries, for better or for worse [16].

During economic crisis, the informal sector — including newer, tech-driven gig jobs — provides a way for many Brazilians to find work. In fact, the country’s current 11.9 percent unemployment rate signals workers’ move into informal jobs, rather than a true recovery of Brazil’s formal-sector industries [17]. The substantial drawback to informal work, gig jobs, and temporary contracts is their lack of codified benefits or protections compared to formal work. However, for many Brazilians, these jobs provide an easier and faster way to pay the bills, especially during recession.

Interestingly, some Uber drivers in São Paulo had lost their previous jobs for the same reason that more economically developed countries sometimes despise rideshare companies: the drivers’ former employers began contracting out labor. Antonio, an older man who had been readying for retirement, lost work more gradually than other drivers with less education and training. “I used to work in insurance,” he explained. “I covered damages for buildings. If there was a fire, flooding, something like that, these places would file insurance claims.” Given his decades of experience and credentials, Antonio did not think of himself as vulnerable to layoffs.

Then Antonio’s company looked to contracting as a low-cost way to stay in business during the recession. They fired Antonio and other insurance claims controllers as formal employees, then offered up independent consulting work for the claims they still needed processed. Antonio explained how his work life changed:

Because of the crisis, damn, the amount of work available kept shrinking. There’s less work to pick up when you contract out. When I started Uber, it was a second job for me. Which is, I think, the idea behind the app — to allow you to make money on the side. But now this is my main source of income.

While Antonio could continue to take consulting contracts with his former company, he has decided to work exclusively as an Uber driver. His previous work simply did not pay enough once he was no longer classified as a formal employee.

Antonio prided himself on keeping track of all his earnings and expenditures to the cent, ensuring that driving with the app actually turned a profit. He showed me all of his gas and maintenance receipts, which he kept filed in expandable folders inside his car’s glove compartment. The front seat, in a sense, was a small office. While he found himself able to make a good living, Antonio lamented Brazil’s recent decline. “Here, Uber is turning into an actual profession because of our crisis,” he said. “There’s no money. There are people with advanced degrees who can’t get jobs — I have a degree in business administration.”

“A decent income”

Antonio was not the only person to carefully track his net earnings. Each Uber driver I spoke with in São Paulo knew exactly what their time was worth. The drivers, who had worked with the app from two months to two and a half years, worked on average 11.3 hours a day for five or six days a week. Even with a small sample of 16 drivers, the uniformity of interviewees’ responses about working hours, expenses, and income suggests some consistency. Many drivers set daily or weekly monetary goals for themselves, and those goals resulted in similar work habits.

On average, drivers reported netting $897–$1,154 USD a month, [18] depending on whether they drove five or six days a week and how many hours a day they spent driving. Because of Brazil’s high income inequality, stratified data helps put those earnings into context. In São Paulo, average monthly wages range $330–$2,584 by neighborhood, [19] and some Uber drivers net similar earnings to incomes in the city’s fifth wealthiest neighborhood (out of 96 districts). Even re-adjusting earnings to meet the labor code’s 44-hour workweek, most drivers would still net about $640 a month, which exceeds Brazil’s average salary of $570. While researchers in the United States have raised concern about Uber and Lyft drivers’ relatively low incomes, [20] it appears that rideshare drivers currently make decent earnings in Brazil.

Despite good pay, some drivers experienced stress because of their long hours on the road. Several interviewees who had previously worked in transportation specifically called attention to their increase in work. “I drive 12 hours a day,” Eduardo told me. “It’s a lot. It’s more than I used to work before.” The older man had formerly worked as an executive driver for a traditional transport company, giving rides to São Paulo’s top businesspeople. Bruno, who had previously driven a refrigerated truck for meat delivery, now worked close to 60 hours a week with Uber. “I used to make more money,” he explained. “I make less now. But if I keep up an average of 12 hours a day, pay is good.” Bruno’s refrigerated truck had been stolen at the height of the recession, and driving a car with Uber seemed a smarter financial choice than making the capital investment to buy a new specialized truck.

The economic crisis likely causes many São Paulo drivers like Eduardo and Bruno to work full-time. This contrasts with the popular view of gig work as a second job or “side hustle,” and may be true elsewhere. Economists at Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) found a similar trend in New York City. Sixty percent of app drivers, who provide 80 percent of rides, work full-time [21]. The IRLE study also suggests that the majority of rideshare drivers in NYC are workers who cannot secure better-paying jobs. This finding is important beyond New York: in healthy economies, it means that many drivers are not choosing between formal and informal work but rather between “new” tech-supported gig work and “old” low-pay contract work in industries such as retail, construction, and food preparation.

“It gets dangerous”

Brazilian drivers face a risk of assault, especially since Uber began accepting cash for payment. This danger arises in part from the country’s already staggering rates of violence. Brazil’s homicide rate is 30.8 per every 100,000 people; in comparison, Mexico’s rate is 25 per 100,000, and the U.S. rate is 5 per 100,000 [22]. While organized crime and drug trafficking drives much of Brazil’s violence, it may have worsened as municipalities have substantially cut budgets for public security due to the economic crisis. Frustrated and underpaid police have further increased their brutality against poor, black men in Brazil’s favelas, with relative impunity [23]. Amidst rising quotidian violence, Brazilians living in urban centers take regular measures to protect themselves when the state cannot guarantee security.

Several of the Uber drivers I spoke with had been assaulted while on the job. Wagner, a middle-aged man, explained how he feels after getting robbed at gunpoint in his car. “I don’t like to work at night,” he said. “It’s very dangerous. São Paulo is a very dangerous city. There are some areas we call ‘the periphery,’ and the periphery is dangerous.” The so-called periphery that Wagner tries to avoid is made up of neighborhoods farther beyond São Paulo’s center, including favelas and other low-income areas where urban crime concentrates.

Traditional taxis have always avoided the periphery, which brings up questions of racial and socioeconomic equity around access to transportation. Those who live in São Paulo’s periphery tend to be people of color who lack access to credit. When introducing cash payment for rides in Brazil in 2017, Uber promoted the idea that the change would expand transportation access to underserved areas and people — and it has [24].  

Yet many Brazilian drivers still do not feel comfortable taking cash payments. Compared to an Uber account linked to a credit card, cash-paying riders have less accountability. “Cash doesn’t tell you anything,” Magdiel explained. People looking to commit robbery often use the app’s cash option to more easily create fake accounts. Out of fear of assault, Magdiel actively works to avoid cash-paying customers:

I try only to take credit card, because there’s less risk. But with Uber now you have to take both, and you never know what the destination is going to be, only when you accept the ride. This is terrible. You could end up in a dangerous area. I picked up a guy in the center of the city, but we went all the way out. Super dangerous, lots of drugs, violence, there could be people with guns there… If I knew where he was going, I wouldn’t have picked him up. But you can’t stop the ride once it starts.

Magdiel noted that his fear of assault does not stop him from working with Uber, but he would like more control over where he drives and what payment he accepts. “I just wish there were a choice to take cash or not, especially at night,” he said.

But not all drivers have an issue with taking cash or providing transportation in São Paulo’s periphery. Reverton, a younger man, countered the narrative of drivers who felt worried. “Sometimes I’ve gone into favelas, and I’ve never had any problem,” he said. “People living in favelas give you the cash they have, all crinkled up, but they pay you. For me, it’s great.”

Uber first introduced cash payment in Brazil at the end of July 2017. In São Paulo, attacks and robberies against Uber drivers spiked from an average of 13 per month before the change to an average of 141 per month for the rest of 2017 [25]. While all robberies in the city rose by about 6 percent that year, violence against traditional taxi drivers — who have more control over where they drive and what payment they accept — rose by one-third during the same period [26]. Uber regional manager Andrew Macdonald initially dismissed drivers’ concerns: “If they’re worried, it’s a bit emotional” [27]. After quick backlash, the company walked back Macdonald’s statement, and Uber began tackling the issue of driver assaults in Brazil. Since 2017, Uber has introduced new features within the app to vet cash-paying customers, including requiring them to provide Brazil’s version of a social security number when creating a rider account. Dara Khosrowshahi, who succeeded founder Travis Kalanick as CEO in August 2017, has stated that safety is now one of Uber’s top priorities [28].

“With competition, Uber will get better”  

One month before I interviewed drivers in São Paulo, Uber changed the way it takes ride commissions in Brazil. Before July 2018, the app had taken a flat 25 percent from the earnings of each ride a driver completed. Uber’s new model uses a dynamic formula to calculate the company’s cut, taking into account distance, time driven, and other factors [29]. While Uber pitches this new commission model as a better way for drivers to be compensated for longer trips and on routes with heavy traffic, many drivers reported other effects. Interviewees told me they had started to make less money on short trips, as Uber’s effective commission rose above 30 percent.

Bruno, the former refrigerated truck driver, felt the change in his earnings. “Uber is taking more from us. It used to be 25 percent, but now it fluctuates. All based on time, distance…that’s how they pay us now. So now there are rides where they take 30 or 40 percent. It’s horrible.” Bruno and others, having just experienced the switch in commission calculation, felt a lack of control over their earnings. Tiago, the former salesman who told me he adores Uber, also felt frustration with the company. He explained:

Sometimes it’s 40, almost 50 percent commission depending on the trip now. Uber says that’s not true, but they’re taking it. For example, if you take a trip that’s $3, Uber is making the majority of that money, not us. And we’re the ones working. They give us the help with the app, so I understand it. The software is great. So I agree with commission, but tell us. Tell us what you’re taking. Twenty-five goes to 30, 30 goes to 40 — just let us know. Right now everything is unclear…Some trips, I’ve counted, Uber took almost 70 percent…They should respect their people. I respect my passengers.

As Tiago expressed, this frustration seems to stem less from the amount of commission Uber is taking than from the switch to a less straightforward, more variable commission scheme. In responding to the company’s change, many drivers mentioned that they had begun working with the 99 ridesharing app. The Uber competitor currently takes a roughly 13 percent flat fee for each ride, and it allows drivers to choose whether or not they accept cash customers. Originally called 99Taxi, the Brazilian app shifted strategy when Chinese company Didi Chuxing bought control in early 2018 [30]. Uber is no stranger to Didi: the competitor bought out Uber China in 2016 [31]. Didi’s latest launch into Mexico signals that Uber will face steeper competition throughout its Latin American market. A key part of that competition is winning over drivers.

Uber may worry about Didi’s growth, but many Brazilian drivers welcome it. “99 is trying to win the market right now,” Michel said. “We’ll see what happens. We need competition. With competition, Uber will get better. They’ll lose drivers if 99 continues getting better.” Michel himself had recently begun driving with 99, and although he preferred Uber’s interface and payment system, 99’s competitive commission kept him driving with both apps. As in the United States, many drivers work with multiple rideshare companies, changing in response to customer demand and earnings potential.

The ability to vary work between rideshare companies — even by switching apps over the course of a day — gives drivers more control. Some Brazilian drivers, for example, switch exclusively to 99 after dark; this allows them to continue working at night, but only with riders paying by credit card. Competition also encourages rideshare companies to vie for drivers by offering different perks and resources, such as bonuses and new in-app features. On August 31, just after I left São Paulo, Uber launched a feature that allows drivers to see form of payment after accepting a ride but before picking up the passenger [32]. While not the same as a direct choice of payment type, this new feature allows drivers to more easily cancel a ride if they feel unsafe taking cash.

Healthy competition between apps pushes companies to continue improving their drivers’ experience — if only to make sure they have a workforce to draw upon. If Uber or another ridesharing app pushed out all competitors, then drivers would face monopsony, or a single buyer of their labor. To support greater choice and better outcomes for drivers, public policies around rideshare apps must work to discourage monopsony conditions [33]. Municipalities like São Paulo can take two key steps to promote competition as they regulate and interact with rideshare companies:

1. Craft regulations to protect smaller companies.

In São Paulo, cars used for ridesharing must meet several requirements before they are authorized to drive. Right now, these requirements — such as driving a car that is no more than five years old — are not unreasonably strict. However, further calls to improve safety and ensure equity in ridesharing could have unintended effects. Proposals to require companies to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles, [34] for example, could push smaller and more specialized companies out of business if not crafted thoughtfully.

Smaller, specialized companies — such as Lady Driver, FemiTaxi, and Ubra — provide driving and transit opportunities to broader, more diverse populations. Likely due to safety concerns, it appears that relatively few women drive for Uber in Brazil [35]. However, Lady Driver and FemiTaxi, two Brazilian apps that provide rides exclusively by and for women, allow female drivers to work without fearing sexual assault from male passengers. In São Paulo, Lady Driver has over 100,000 users and 8,000 drivers. In response to the clear demand met by these apps, 99 recently piloted an option to request female drivers [36]. Competition from small, specialized apps pushes larger, more-established rideshare companies to consider how they can reach diverse and marginalized drivers and riders.

Ubra, which operates in São Paulo’s periphery, competes with larger apps by uniquely understanding the needs of — and by acknowledging the humanity of — low-income Brazilians. Founder Alvimar da Silva realized that the dearth of rides in his community presented a business opportunity. “There’s a myth about the periphery being dangerous,” Da Silva told reporters [37]. His company specializes by hiring local drivers, who he says “are not prejudiced against [the periphery] and are not afraid to work here.” Understanding that its users may not have smartphones or good internet service, Ubra allows riders to hail cars with a call or WhatsApp message. Most strikingly, it allows for creative and more informal ride payments, based on community trust; for example, riders can pay their way in gasoline if a driver stops at a station [38].

Policies promoting transportation safety and equity are socially desirable, but municipalities should keep smaller and specialized businesses like Lady Driver and Ubra in mind as they shape regulations. Stricter and more expensive-to-meet requirements must only apply after certain fleet-size thresholds. If policymakers do not keep small companies in mind, stricter regulation may favor larger, more-established rideshare companies and push others out of the market. This would limit choice and access for both drivers and riders.

2. Avoid exclusivity in public-private partnerships.

Rideshare companies introduce the possibility of advantageous public-private partnerships where mass public transit does not serve all people or meet all transit needs. For São Paulo, the need to provide affordable and reliable transport to people living in the city’s periphery is especially strong. If the city moves to partner with rideshare companies to tackle last-mile problems and expand transport options, then it must negotiate with multiple providers.

While Uber and 99 have more lobbying power and expertise than smaller companies like Ubra and Lady Driver, that should not guarantee exclusivity as the sole provider of rideshare services that work in conjunction with public services. Exclusive partnerships with established providers could push out existing small and specialized companies, which arguably serve marginalized communities better than the more-established rideshare apps.

Public paratransit systems, which serve people with disabilities, may also benefit from working with rideshare companies. In Chicago, for example, Uber offers a service that pairs riders with wheelchair-accessible vehicles on demand. Chicago’s Pace paratransit system, in contrast, currently requires rides to be planned a full day in advance. Pace recognized the benefit that on-demand rides provide to people with disabilities, and Chicago has begun talks with both Uber and Lyft about partnering on paratransit [39].

Whether to tackle last-mile challenges, offer expanded paratransit services, or for other reasons, municipalities that partner with rideshare companies should avoid exclusivity in their contracts and collaborations. This leaves the door open for new and different businesses to compete to offer better solutions to public transportation problems.

Brazil’s difficult road ahead

Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who publicly praises Brazil’s 1964–1985 military dictatorship, recently won the presidency and is set to take office in January 2019. Bolsonaro campaigned on fiscal austerity programs, and global markets responded favorably to his election [40]. After 13 consecutive years of governance by the Workers’ Party (called “PT”, or Partido dos Trabalhadores), many Brazilians signaled hunger for change, no matter its type or outcome.

Given Brazil’s difficult economic and political climate, public policies that promote healthy market competition currently offer the most feasible way to support gig workers. Bolsonaro’s new administration is highly unlikely to support labor laws that favor workers, let alone promote the interests of low-income communities and marginalized populations. The right-wing populist cares most about fighting crime — which is often code for targeting poor, black Brazilians. “I will give the police carte blanche to kill,” the president-elect recently promised [41]. Given Bolsonaro’s extreme ideology and distaste for government regulation, municipalities like São Paulo will likely find most success by implementing labor policies that employ free market rhetoric.

Though this article focuses on policies to uphold market competition in the rideshare sector, it touches on many other areas to explore. Future policy research about the gig economy should examine issues like data-sharing with municipalities, how contract workers use and contribute to social safety nets, and the ways that companies pay into social programs that benefit their contractors.

Brazil provides an illustrative case of gig work’s important function during an economic recession. While not perfect, the driving jobs that Uber created have helped many unemployed people get back to work quickly and easily. Eduardo, who had driven for the majority of his career — first as an executive chauffeur, now with Uber — reflected on his situation with humility. “It’s complicated,” he said. “It’s not easy in Brazil, we’re all artists here. We make life happen, and you have to have happiness.”

Heather Regen is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy.

*All driver names in this article have been changed to protect privacy. Interviews were conducted in Portuguese, and all quotes have been translated by the author.


1 Sarah Dilorenzo, “Uber warns bill would make ride-sharing impossible in Brazil,” Business Insider, October 31, 2017, https://www.businessinsider.com/ap-uber-warns-bill-would-make-ride-sharing-impossible-in-brazil-2017-10.

2 Paul Sawers, “Uber’s next battleground: Latin America,” VentureBeat. March 30, 2018,  https://venturebeat.com/2018/03/30/ubers-next-battleground-latin-america.

3 Nicholas Shields, “Uber might be done with its international retreat,” Business Insider, April 27, 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/uber-might-be-done-with-its-international-retreat-2018-4.

4 Gabriel Rached and Eduardo Helfer de Farias. “Regulação do transporte individual de passageiros: Um estudo sobre o caso Uber no Brasil.” Revista de Direito da Cidade, 9 (2017): 825-867.

5 “Brazil’s economy falls into recession, latest figures show,” BBC News, August 29, 2014, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-28982555.

6 “Brazil takes off,” The Economist, November 12, 2009, https://www.economist.com/leaders/2009/11/12/brazil-takes-off.

7 David Biller, “Brazil’s Highs and Lows,” Bloomberg, October 5, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/quicktake/brazils-highs-lows.

8 “Brazil’s jobless rate ends 2016 at 12 percent with 12.3 million unemployed,” Reuters, January 31, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-economy-employment/brazils-jobless-rate-ends-2016-at-12-percent-with-12-3-million-unemployed-idUSKBN15F1LE.

9 “Brazilian Real,” Accessed September 7, 2018,  https://tradingeconomics.com/brazil/currency.

10 Daniel Silveira and Marta Cavallini, “Desemprego fica em 13,7% no 1 trimestre de 2017 e atinge 14,2 milhões,” Globo, April 28, 2017, https://g1.globo.com/economia/noticia/desemprego-fica-em-137-no-1-trimestre-de-2017.ghtml.

11 Carlos Góes and Izabela Karpowicz, “Inequality in Brazil: A Regional Perspective,” International Monetary Fund, (IMF Working Paper, 2017), WP/17/225.

12 Prefeitura de São Paulo, Resolução 16, Comitê Municipal de Uso Do Viário, July 7, 2017, http://www.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/cidade/secretarias/upload/chamadas/resolucao-cmuv-16_1506608300.pdf.

13 Giba Bergamim. “Preço de alvará de táxi despenca, e gestão Haddad libera comércio,” Folha de São Paulo, September 7, 2016, https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/cotidiano/2016/07/1790006-preco-de-alvara-de-taxi-cai-e-haddad-libera-comercio.shtml.

14 Andrew Henley, G. Reza Arabsheibani, and Francisco Carneiro, “On Defining and Measuring the Informal Sector,” The World Bank, (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, March 2006), WPS3866.

15 Ibid.

16 Johannes Jütting and Juan de Laiglesia, Is Informal Normal? Towards More and Better Jobs in Developing Countries (OECD Publishing, 2009), https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/development/is-informal-normal_9789264059245-en.

17 “Brazil jobless rate falls in Sept, off-the-books hiring continues,” Reuters, October 30, 2018, https://www.nasdaq.com/article/brazil-jobless-rate-falls-in-sept-offthebooks-hiring-continues-20181030-00938.

18 All earnings data converted from Brazilian reais into U.S. dollars using the average exchange rate for August 2018 of 3.9 reais to 1 dollar. Brazil measures wages by month rather than year.

19 “Média de salário em SP vai de R$1,2 mil em Marsilac a R$10 mil no Campo Belo,” Globo, October 24, 2017, https://g1.globo.com/sao-paulo/noticia/media-de-salario-em-sp-vai-de-r-12-mil-em-marsilac-a-r-10-mil-no-campo-belo.ghtml.

20 James Perrott and Michael Reich, “An Earnings Standard for New York City’s App-based Drivers: Economic Analysis and Policy Assessment,” U.C. Berkeley Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics, (Report for the New York City Taxi and LImousine Commission, 2018), 6, http://irle.berkeley.edu/an-earnings-standard-for-new-york-citys-app-based-drivers/.

21 Perrott and Reich, “An Earnings Standard for New York City’s App-based Drivers: Economic Analysis and Policy Assessment,” 3.

22 Shasta Darlington, “A Year of Violence Sees Brazil’s Murder Rate Hit Record High,” The New York Times, August 10, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/world/americas/brazil-murder-rate-record.html.

23 Ibid.

24 Stephen Eisenhammer and Brad Haynes, “Murders, robberies of drivers in Brazil force Uber to rethink cash strategy,” Reuters, February 13, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-tech-brazil-insight/murders-robberies-of-drivers-in-brazil-force-uber-to-rethink-cash-strategy-idUSKBN15T0JQ.

25 “Cash policy drives attacks on Uber drivers,” Reuters, February 13, 2017, http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/UBER-TECH-BRAZIL/010031VD47B/BRAZIL-UBER.jpg.

26 Eisenhammer and Haynes, “Murders, robberies of drivers in Brazil force Uber to rethink cash strategy.”

27 Ibid.

28 Marcelo Rochabrun, “Uber’s new Brazil center aims to improve safety of cash transactions,” Reuters, August 16, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/uber-brazil/ubers-new-brazil-center-aims-to-improve-safety-of-cash-transactions-idUSL1N1V71NK.

29 “Uber vai cobrar taxa variável de motoristas no Brasil,” Terra, July 2, 2018, https://www.terra.com.br/noticias/tecnologia/uber-vai-cobrar-taxa-variavel-de-motoristas-no-brasil,97bcadc7ddd0ae75bd354444ff2e1c0emmq8cgli.html.

30 “China’s Didi Chuxing buys control of Brazil’s ride-hailing app,” Reuters, January 3, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-99-m-a-didi/chinas-didi-chuxing-buys-control-of-brazils-99-ride-hailing-app-idUSKBN1ES0SJ.

31 Ibid.

32 Gabriel Francisco Ribeiro, “Cancelamos à vista? Uber avisa antes a motorista sobre tipo de pagamento,” UOL, August 31, 2018, https://tecnologia.uol.com.br/noticias/redacao/2018/08/31/motorista-podera-cancelar-uber-mostrara-forma-de-pagamento-antes-da-viagem.htm.

33 Joe Cortright, “A To-Do List for Promoting Competitive Ride-Sharing Markets,” City Observatory, February 8, 2016, http://cityobservatory.org/a-to-do-list-for-promoting-competitive-ride-sharing-markets/.

34 Meg Graham, “Uber to bring new accessible ride services to Chicago this month,” Chicago Tribune, May 3, 2016, https://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/originals/ct-uber-wheelchair-accessible-rides-chicago-bsi-20160503-story.html.

35 Taís Haupt, “Female ride-hailing apps grow in Brazil on safety concerns,” Reuters, October 13, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-tech-transportation/female-ride-hailing-apps-grow-in-brazil-on-safety-concerns-idUSKBN1CI1UF.

36 “Aplicativo suspende opção de escolher motorista mulher,” Veja, February 19, 2018, https://veja.abril.com.br/economia/aplicativo-suspende-opcao-de-escolher-motorista-mulher/.

37 Ignacio Amigo, “The São Paulo taxi firm that dares to go where Uber doesn’t,” The Guardian, September 11, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/sep/11/ubra-sao-paulo-taxi-firm-uber-brasilandia-ride-hailing.

38 Ibid.

39 Graham, “Uber to bring new accessible ride services to Chicago this month.”

40 Annabelle Timsit, “Brazil elected far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro, and the markets love it,” Quartz, October 29, 2018, https://qz.com/1441430/jair-bolsonaros-election-in-brazil-is-pushing-markets-higher/.

41 Rosana Pinheiro-Machado, “Jair Bolsonaro Wants Brazilian Cops to Kill More,” The Intercept, October 18, 2018, https://theintercept.com/2018/10/18/jair-bolsonaro-elections-brazil-police-brutality/.