Price Cycles in Ridesharing Platforms


In ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft, it is observed that drivers sometimes collaboratively go offline when the price is low, and then return after the price has risen due to the perceived lack of supply. This collective strategy leads to cyclic fluctuations in prices and available drivers, resulting in poor reliability and social welfare. We study a continuous control model and prove that such online/offline strategies may form a Nash equilibrium among drivers, but lead to a lower total driver payoff if the market is sufficiently dense. Further, we show how to set price floors that effectively mitigate the emergence and impact of price cycles.

Chenkai Yu
Chenkai Yu
PhD Student in Decision, Risk, and Operations

Incentive, Information, and Computation