Coercive Rideshare Practices: At the Intersection of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law in the Gig Economy

33 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2022

See all articles by Christopher Lewis Peterson

Christopher Lewis Peterson

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Marshall Steinbaum

University of Utah Department of Economics

Date Written: August 21, 2022

Abstract

This article considers antitrust and consumer protection liability for coercive practices vis-à-vis drivers that are prevalent in the rideshare industry. Resale price maintenance, non-linear pay practices, withholding data, and conditioning data access on maintaining a minimum acceptance rate all curtail platform competition, sustaining a high-price, tacitly collusive equilibrium among the few incumbents. Moreover, concealing relevant trip data from drivers is both deceptive and unfair when the platforms are in full possession of the relevant facts. In the absence of these coercive practices, customers too would be better-off due to platform competition that would lower average prices by sharpening competition between incumbents, enable entry by rivals charging lower take rates, and unravel pervasive price discrimination. Coercive practices in the rideshare industry and elsewhere, and the business models they enable, result from the preference for hierarchy and domination inherent in the contraction of liability for vertical restraints since the 1970s.

Keywords: Rideshare, antitrust, consumer protection, vertical restraints, resale price maintenance, non-linear pay, conditional pricing practices

Suggested Citation

Peterson, Christopher Lewis and Steinbaum, Marshall, Coercive Rideshare Practices: At the Intersection of Antitrust and Consumer Protection Law in the Gig Economy (August 21, 2022). University of Chicago Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4196215 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4196215

Christopher Lewis Peterson

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-6655 (Phone)
801581-6897 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.utah.edu

Marshall Steinbaum (Contact Author)

University of Utah Department of Economics ( email )

1645 Central Campus Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://faculty.utah.edu/u6024209-Marshall_Steinbaum/hm/index.hml

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