Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Ideology Über Alles? Economics Bloggers on Uber, Lyft, and Other Transportation Network Companies

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Abstract

In recent years several new ‘transportation network companies’ (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, have emerged, competing with traditional taxicabs. In most U.S. cities, taxicab markets operate implicitly or explicitly as a cartel, and new services pose an economic challenge to them. The motivation and moral of the paper is predicated on a belief that is not defended in the paper, namely the belief that such government-created cartels are undesirable. Here I survey the coverage by economics blogs of the TNCs, with specific emphasis on whether bloggers highlight the consumer benefits from the new competition. One of the main results is that very few vocal left-leaning U.S. academic economics bloggers have had anything at all positive to say about Uber and Lyft: most are silent, some are ambivalent, and a few are outright hostile.