Decentralized, Disruptive, and On Demand: Opportunities for Local Government in the Sharing Economy
11 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2016 Last revised: 24 Mar 2016
Date Written: February 9, 2016
This essay is a response to Daniel E. Rauch and David Schleicher’s Like Uber, but for Local Government Policy: The Future of Local Regulation of the Sharing Economy. The essay examines policy propositions raised by Rauch and Schleicher, and also affirmatively posits three ways in which local government can use the sharing economy to achieve long-standing policy goals. First, the sharing economy can be used by local governments to decentralize economic development activity throughout the city. Second, when local governments are using regulatory powers to assist redistribution efforts, such as inclusionary zoning, they can consider how sharing firms, such as car-sharing, can be implemented into those existing redistributive requirements. By doing so, local governments can create disruptive markets that assist with the developing competitiveness of the sharing economy. Third, local governments can use sharing economy services for their own proprietary functions. Taken to its logical end, such sharing of government property could go a long way towards eliminating Tieboutian sorting and address regional inequities. In addition, the essay urges local governments to consider long-term implications of the sharing economy, such as how sharing firms may control access to future technologies like autonomous cars, and begin preparing for such futures now when making long-term infrastructure investments.
Keywords: sharing economy, redistribution, Airbnb, Uber, short term rentals, transportation network companies, local government
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