The ridesharing revolution: Economic survey and synthesis

The Uber logo is seen on a vehicle near Union Square in San Francisco.

Ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft are part of a broader suite of innovations that make up what is referred to as the sharing economy.

In “The ridesharing revolution: Economic survey and synthesis,” Robert Hahn and Robert Metcalfe provide an overview of current research on the economic efficiency and equity characteristics of ridesharing platforms and looks at the natural evolution toward driverless cars.

The paper finds that:

  1. Relatively little is known about the equity and efficiency of ridesharing platforms, but this is likely to change as companies and researchers focus on these issues.
  2. By looking at other policies and technologies, researchers can likely learn something about the diffusion and benefits of ridesharing platforms.
  3. While the researchers believe the platforms will do substantially more good than harm, they say the measurement, distribution, and size of the gains from the technologies requires further research.

The authors did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this article or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this article. They are currently not an officer, director, or board member of any organization with an interest in this article.