The Sharing Economy Meets the Sherman Act: Is Uber a Firm, a Cartel, or Something in Between?
75 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017 Last revised: 4 Jan 2018
Date Written: April 18, 2017
The sharing economy is a new industrial structure that is made possible by instantaneous internet communication and changes in life, work, and purchasing habits of individual entrepreneurs and consumers. Antitrust law is an economic regulatory scheme dating to 1890 (in the United States) and designed to address centrally controlled concentrations of economic power and threats that those concentrations would operate to contravene both consumer interest and economic efficiency. Antitrust needs reenvisioning and careful application to accommodate a modern enterprise structure in which thousands or millions of independent contractors joint forces to provide a service by agreement among themselves. The success of Uber, Airbnb, and other sharing economy firms, and the consumer benefits those firms promise, show both how difficult and how important that reenvisioning can be.
Keywords: Antitrust, Sharing Economy, Gig Economy, Peer-To-Peer, Sherman Act, Section One, Rule of Reason, Quick Look, Uber, Airbnb, Taskrabbit, Lyft, Cartel, Single Firm
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