Exploring Side Effects of Ridesharing Services in Urban China: Role of Pollution-Averting Behavior

Electronic Commerce Research

35 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020 Last revised: 20 Oct 2020

See all articles by Wei Chen

Wei Chen

Renmin University of China - School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development

Jian Chen

Ohio State University (OSU), College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Science, Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics, Students

Guopeng Yin

RMF of the Harvard Medical Institutions

Date Written: March 28, 2020

Abstract

Ridesharing has become popular over the last decade, bringing significant changes to residents’ travel patterns and city traffic. Relevant to the growth and impact of ridesharing activities in populous urban areas are the side effects, such as air pollution and traffic congestion. Despite a number of studies on these side effects, few have focused on their underlying causes and explained the behavioral incentive. Drawing on the theory of averting behavior, this paper investigates the ridesharing choices of individuals who face but would prefer to avoid ambient air pollution. Such air pollution-averting behavior tends to increase the demand for ridesharing services, which further results in more motorized traffic and pollutant emissions. Utilizing trip records from DiDi company and data on air pollutants in Haikou, China, we find that an additional 10 μg/m3 of PM2.5 leads to an increase of 2.6% in the count of DiDi trip orders. Results also show that the total number of vehicles traveled on the road increases due to elevated DiDi usage and the effect varies with time. This could further worsen the air quality and bring other potential side effects. These empirical results offer unique insights into the dynamic interactions among ridesharing, air pollution and traffic in urban areas, especially the impact of ridesharing from the perspective of individual behavior.

Keywords: ridesharing, side effects, air pollution, averting behavior, traffic, negative binominal regression

JEL Classification: R41, Q53, Q55, M21

Suggested Citation

Chen, Wei and Chen, Jian and Yin, Guopeng, Exploring Side Effects of Ridesharing Services in Urban China: Role of Pollution-Averting Behavior (March 28, 2020). Electronic Commerce Research, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3563294 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3563294

Wei Chen

Renmin University of China - School of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development ( email )

59 Zhongguancun Street
Beijing 100872
China

Jian Chen (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU), College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Science, Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics, Students ( email )

2120 Fyffe Rd
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Guopeng Yin

RMF of the Harvard Medical Institutions ( email )

Boston, MA 02215
United States

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