Hubert Horan aviation consulting



Listed below are various analysis of the competitive economics of Uber. These are based on Horan's 40 years of experience in the management and regulation of transportation companies. Horan has no financial links with any urban car service industry competitors, investors or regulators, or any firms that work on behalf of industry participants.


Transportation Law Journal article

Will the Growth of Uber Increase Economic Welfare?

Citation: 44 Transp. L.J., 33-105 (2017)
Available for download at SSRN:

The detailed (30,000 word) analysis of Uber’s historical development, financial performance and competitive economic, based on data available as of July 2017. Includes over 200 citations of contemporary media reports and industry analysis.

American Affairs Magazine article
Uber's Path of Destruction
American Affairs, vol.3 no. 2, Summer 2019, pp.108-133
Provides a 9,000 word overview of Uber's development, economic issues and financial results through early 2019.

Interview on ABC Television (Australia) Four Corners program

The Uber Story

Video and transcript of Four Corners broadcast of 18 March 2019

Uber's Disruptive War on Economic Welfare

Presentation to Grant's Fall Conference, New York 23 October 2019

ProMarket series on the role of academics in Uber's propaganda program--Nov/Dec 2019

The first two of these three articles summarize Uber's hopeless economics and the PR/propaganda program that created the widespread impression that a company that had lost over $20 billion between 2015 and 2019 was actually a highly successful business that had produced huge economic welfare benefits for consumers and cities. The third article documents Uber's use of academics from prestigious institutions in this propaganda program and includes detailed critiques of four of the most important Uber-sponsored academic papers. All of the papers were designed to allow Uber to claim that key PR claims were backed by rigorous, independent academic research. However none of the papers actually analyzed their nominal subjects (compartaive taxi operating productivity, the labor market for taxi drivers, changes in consumer welfare since Uber's entry, or factors affecting overall driver welfare) and all of the papers deliberately ignored the massive, unsustainable subsidies that completely invalidates all their central claims.

Interview on Harry Shearer's Le Show--1 Dec 2019

aked Capitalism Uber Series

Can Uber Ever Deliver? Parts 1-5—Nov-Dec 2016

Parts 1-4 include the original versions of arguments (subsequently published in the TLJ article) about Uber’s dismal financial results, uncompetitive economics, and its explicit pursuit of unregulated industry dominance based on data available in 2016; Part 5 answers questions raised by readers of Parts 1-4

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Can Uber Ever Deliver? Parts 6-10—Jan-Jun 2017

Part 6 updated the evidence from part 1 on Uber’s dismal financial results.

Part 7 outlined Uber’s PR “narrative” and part 9 documented how this “narratives” had been taken directly from propaganda narratives developed in the 1990s by well-funded groups seeking the complete elimination of all forms of governmental oversight over the taxi industry.

Other material here (which is not included in the TLJ article) addressed the major flaws in well-publicized pro-Uber pieces, including (in part 8) a major book on Uber by Bloomberg’s senior tech industry reporter and totally ignored all available evidence about Uber’s economics, totally whitewashed the cultural and ethical issues that had engulfed Uber in controversy, and argued the book should be seen as PR advocacy, and not as journalism.

Part 10 describes major Uber events in the first half of 2017, including an internal investigation of systematic sexual harassment at Uber and the forced resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick.

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Can Uber Ever Deliver? Parts 11-15—Dec 2017-Jun 2018

Parts 11, 13, and 15 update the documentation of Uber’s staggering losses based on newly published data through (respectively) 3Q2017, 4Q2017 and 1Q2018. Parts 12 and 14 examine major pro-Uber pieces in mainstream publications (Bloomberg and the New Yorker) and show how they systematically ignore financial/economic data while emphasizing unsubstantiated Uber PR narrative claims. Part 16 demonstrates why the first published forecast of future Uber profitability and potential IPO valuation  (by Morningstar) was totally indefensible and worthless.

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Can Uber Ever Deliver? Parts 16-21--Aug 2018-Sept 2019

These Naked Capitalism articles document Uber's 2018 financial results and events leading up to the 2019 Lyft and Uber IPOs. Part 16 demonstrates why the first published forecast of future Uber profitability and potential IPO valuation (by Morningstar) was totally indefensible and worthless. Part 18 examined Lyft's IPO prospectus (which included the first public release of historical financial results) and its failure to explain how the ridesharing business could ever become profitable. Part 19 examined Uber's IPO propsectus and documented how Uber had massively inflated claimed P&L improvements by categorizing the alleged value of untradable financial paper related to failed and discontinued operations as current profits from ongoing operations. Part 20 discussed the results of the two "train-wreck" IPOs and how the actual results failed to change the media narrative describing both as highly valuable companies.  Part 21 critiques the Uber book published by New York Times reporter Mike Issac which totally ignores Uber's uncompetitive economics and terrible financial performance, and attributes Uber's various problems to the idiosyncratic personalities of its executives and Board members.

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Can Uber Ever Deliver? Parts 22-23--Feb-Aug 2020

Part 22 of the Naked Capitalism series documents Uber's full year 2019 financial results. Uber's published 2019 GAAP loss was $8.5 billion, with a profit margin of negative 60%. The article notes accounting misstatements discussed previously in the series, where the alleged future value of untradeable financial notes was improperly classified as profits from ongoing operations, and where the costs of stock-based compensation for work performed over multiple years were assigned to a single quarter. Adjusting for these accounting issues produced a 2019 loss of $5.9 billion and a negative 42% margin. The article also documented the continuing slow down of growth in Uber's core business, and explained why Uber's promise of "profitability" by the end of 2020 was highly dubious. Part 23 documents Uber's first half 2020 results, including the coronavirus impacts that first hit during the second quarter. Second quarter rides revenue declined 74% versus the fourth quarter of 2019. Uber burned $4.0 billion in cash in the first half versus a fully year 2019 cash burn of $5.1 billion.

Uber articles published at Pando

Has Pando missed the heart of the Uber problem? A transportation industry expert writes...---December 1, 2015

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Uber an avatar of innovation and progress? The economic evidence says otherwise--March 10,2017.
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