Table of Contents

The Role of the Federal Government in Regulating the Sharing Economy

Sarah E. Light, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School - Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department

Advertised Incentives for Participation in Daily Fantasy Sports Contests in 2015 and 2016: Legal Classification and Consumer Implications

John T. Holden, Florida State University
Simon Brandon-Lai, State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland

Why Flexibility Matters: Inequality and Contract Pluralism

Jeremiah A. Ho, University of Massachusetts School of Law

The Economics of Cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin and Beyond

Jonathan Chiu, Bank of Canada, Victoria University of Wellington
Thorsten V. Koeppl, Queen's University - Department of Economics


"The Role of the Federal Government in Regulating the Sharing Economy" Free Download
in: Cambridge Handbook on the Law of the Sharing Economy (Nestor Davidson, Michèle Finck, and John Infranca, eds., Cambridge Univ. Press) (2018, Forthcoming)

SARAH E. LIGHT, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School - Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department

The sharing economy - also known as the "platform" economy - has captured the attention of scholars, policymakers, and the public, who are grappling with how existing regulatory structures fit these new forms of business organization. Before one gets to the question of what substantive law to apply to these platforms, the federalism question arises, namely: who gets to decide.

This Chapter explores the federalism implications of the rise of the platform economy. It argues that while much scholarship focuses on the role of local government in regulating these new platforms, the federal government should play a leading role in three domains:

(1) enforcement of national anti-discrimination laws;

(2) consumer protection, including with respect to data privacy and information asymmetries; and

(3) coordination of local policy experimentation with diffusion of policy successes.

"Advertised Incentives for Participation in Daily Fantasy Sports Contests in 2015 and 2016: Legal Classification and Consumer Implications" Free Download
Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 15: 4, pp. 1–13, 2017 DOI/10.16997/eslj.207

JOHN T. HOLDEN, Florida State University
SIMON BRANDON-LAI, State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland

During the summer of 2015, daily fantasy sports (DFS) advertising in the United States became ubiquitous, with DraftKings and FanDuel embarking on an aggressive advertising campaign. One year later, those commercials all but disappeared from television and radio. In the United States, DFS operators and the industry trade association have argued that fantasy games are legally distinct from prohibited forms of sports gambling; however, several state legislators have concluded differently. In this empirical examination, we examined the advertised incentives across the first two weeks of the National Football League (NFL) season in 2015 and 2016. In order to assess whether the arguments made by industry groups that DFS is distinct from gambling is conveyed in the messages being sent to consumers by the two major DFS companies, we conducted a qualitative directed content analysis. We observed that the 2015 commercials focused on the ease of play, and DFS players’ ability to win money; whereas the 2016 commercials placed a greater emphasis on intrinsic themes. The implications of this study are meaningful because they suggest that as the regulatory framework surrounding DFS in the United States has become more certain, the major DFS companies have made a change in their advertising messaging while not fundamentally altering their most played products.

"Why Flexibility Matters: Inequality and Contract Pluralism" Free Download
U.C. Davis Business Law Journal, Forthcoming

JEREMIAH A. HO, University of Massachusetts School of Law

In the decade since the Great Recession, various contract scholars have observed that one reason the financial crisis was so “great? was due in part to contract law—or, more precisely, the failures of contract law for not curbing the risky lending practices in the American housing market. However, there is another reason why contracts made that recession so great: contracts furthered inequality. In recent years, when economic inequality has become a dominant national conversation topic, we can see development of that inequality in the Great Recession. And indeed, contract law was complicit. While contractual flexibility and innovation were available to soften the blow of large commercial deals gone wrong during the crisis, residential mortgage defaults across the U.S. were subject to strict contractual formalism that led to severe consequences for those pursuing one of the hallmark prizes of the American Dream, homeownership. Specifically, cases during the Great Recession featured commercial parties relying on the gravity of the Great Recession as the reason why their contract breaches ought to be excused through doctrines such as impracticability. Although impracticability defenses premised on economic changes are usually unconvincing, commercial claimants during the Great Recession had some surprising successes and advantages in taking such positions.. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of homeowners, whose abilities to honor their mortgage agreements were also hindered by the economic downturn, could not predicate their defaults on the crisis and get away with it. Instead, they were subject to rigid contract formalism. The entitlement to flexible and innovative excuse arguments seemed particularly exclusive to commercial claimants during the Great Recession. And contract law helped sustain that exclusivity. Therein lies the inequality.

This Article’s ultimate goal is not to argue, like others already have, for the efficacy of expanding contract excuse doctrines in significant times of crisis. Instead, the heart of this Article’s investigation examines, using the example of impracticability arguments during the Great Recession, why commercial parties had more access to flexibility in contracts than others in order to point out how it resonates societally for contracts. Modern contract law furthered inequality when it could have been more instrumental in advancing social mobility and economic opportunity. Thus, this Article’s observations ultimately support the idea that rather than formalism, contract pluralism ought to be adopted in order to give contracts a more meaningful role in furthering a fair and just society.

"The Economics of Cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin and Beyond" Free Download

JONATHAN CHIU, Bank of Canada, Victoria University of Wellington
THORSTEN V. KOEPPL, Queen's University - Department of Economics

How well can a cryptocurrency serve as a means of payment? We study the optimal design of cryptocurrencies and assess quantitatively how well such currencies can support bilateral trade. The challenge for cryptocurrencies is to overcome double-spending by relying on competition to update the blockchain (costly mining) and by delaying settlement. We estimate that the current Bitcoin scheme generates a large welfare loss of 1.4% of consumption. This welfare loss can be lowered substantially to 0.08% by adopting an optimal design that reduces mining and relies exclusively on money growth rather than transaction fees to finance mining rewards. We also point out that cryptocurrencies can potentially challenge retail payment systems provided scaling limitations can be addressed.


About this eJournal

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts of articles, recently published articles, books, legislative reports, conferences, and other publications that address issues of interest to consumer law scholars and practitioners. Coverage includes legal issues pertaining to advertising, consumer reporting (including credit repair organizations), discrimination (including redlining), consumer disclosure (such as the Truth in Lending Act, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and consumer leasing), consumer fraud (including issues arising under the Federal Trade Commission Act, state UDAP statutes, odometer laws, referral sales, and bait and switch statutes), unconscionability, standard form contracts, consumer privacy (including telemarketing, spam, spyware, phishing, direct mail, financial privacy, common law privacy torts in consumer transactions, and online privacy), identity theft, data protection, cooling off rules (including door to door sales regulation), payment systems (such as credit and debit cards, internet payment issues, stored value cards (including gift cards and phone cards), and electronic transfers), warranties (including UCC warranties, lemon laws, and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act), consumer product safety, commercial speech doctrine, debt collection, repossession, predatory lending (including asset-based lending, equity stripping, flipping, balloon payments, negative amortization, loan packing, rate-risk disparities and yield-spread premiums), payday lending, usury, credit insurance, electronic shopping (including electronic signatures and records, formation of contracts, and payments), the holder in due course regulation, mortgages, student loans, repossession, foreclosure, regulation that pertains to consumer markets and enforcement of consumer laws (including class actions, preemption, arbitration, administrative enforcement, small claims courts and attorney's fees). The eJournal does not cover landlord-tenant issues or criminal law. The eJournal welcomes a broad range of methodological approaches, including conventional doctrinal analyses, law and economics approaches, historical discussions, socio-legal analyses, law and society approaches, discussions of consumer psychology that bear on legal issues, international law analyses and comparative law approaches.

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