On Sharing and Quasi-Sharing: The Tension between Sharing-Economy Practices, Public Policy and Regulation
In: "The Sharing Economy: Possibilities, Challenges, and the Way Forward" (2017) (Forthcoming)
49 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2016
Date Written: October 11, 2016
This paper offers a critical and comparative overview of the main regulatory and policy challenges faced by regulators in the context of the sharing economy. The regulation of the sharing economy has been particularly challenging as regulators are being asked to balance the interests protected by longstanding regulations with the benefits of sharing economy platforms, their intrinsic laws and ‘codes,’ as well as the informal rules of an economic system originally based on collaboration rather than on profit-making.
In a nutshell, this paper discusses the need to rethink local private transportation and zoning regulations, landlord-tenant law, labor law, competition law, and the liability of digital platforms as information society services in light of new developments in the sharing economy. This chapter also addresses the public policy challenges of the sharing economy, in particular the need to define limits for excessive sharing. I argue that future regulatory steps should be inspired by the distinction between sharing and quasi-sharing practices, that is, initiatives that are truly collaborative should benefit from regulatory exemptions and ‘light licensing’. On the contrary, practices that may or may not promote the sustainable sharing of goods such as occasional ‘car-pooling’ (e.g., UberPool) should be regulated according to their sharing potential or as business-to-consumer platforms.
Keywords: sharing economy, Uber, regulation, digital platforms, public policy, regulation, zoning, Airbnb, authorization schemes
JEL Classification: K20, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation