The Impact of Multi-homing in a Ride-Hailing Market
Platforms such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb serve two-sided markets with drivers (property owners) on one side and riders (renters) on the other side. Some agents multi-home. In the case of ride-hailing, a driver may drive for both Uber and Lyft, and a rider may use both apps and request a ride from the company that has a driver close by. In this paper, we are interested in welfare implications of multi-homing in such a market. Our model abstracts away from entry/exit by drivers and riders as well as pricing by platforms. Both drivers' and riders' surpluses are determined by the average time between a request and the actual pickup. The benchmark setting is a monopoly platform and the direct comparison is a single-homing duopoly. The former is more efficient since it has a thicker market. Next, we consider two multi-homing settings, multi-homing on the rider side and multi-homing on the driver side respectively. Relative to single-homing duopoly, we find that multi-homing on either side improves the overall welfare. However, multi-homing drivers potentially benefit themselves at the cost of single-homing drivers. In contrast, multi-homing riders benefit themselves as well as single-homing riders, representing a more equitable distribution of gains from multi-homing.