Is it really different from traditional business?
What's called the sharing economy—peer-to-peer transactions conducted via the Internet and smartphones—has changed how people arrange car rides, find vacation lodging and more. Revenue is projected to soar in the coming years, although profitability remains untested. But as businesses such as Uber, Lyft and Airbnb flourish, regulation and collection of taxes, primarily by state and local authorities, have become more difficult to enforce. Traditional businesses such as taxis and hotels complain that these newcomers are gaining an unfair advantage by ducking oversight that's meant to protect consumers. Additionally, debate has grown over whether service providers in the sharing economy are independent contractors or employees. Some of the key issues under debate: Is the sharing economy more efficient than traditional markets? Should regulators treat the sharing economy the same way as conventional competitors? Are sharing-economy companies platforms for independent contractors, or are they employers?
Botsman, Rachel, and Roo Rogers, “What's Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption,” HarperCollins, New York, 2010. Botsman, a business consultant, and Rogers, the founder of several sharing-economy companies, trace the roots of the sharing economy and the changes in how people consume goods and services.
Chase, Robin, “Peers Inc: How People and Platforms Are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism,” PublicAffairs, New York, 2015. Chase, a co-founder of Zipcar, draws on the relatively short history of the sharing economy and explores how it is changing the broader economy.
Stephany, Alex, “The Business of Sharing: Making It in the Sharing Economy,” Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2015. Stephany, CEO of JustPark, a sharing-economy company in Great Britain, outlines best practices for succeeding in the sharing economy by examining the experiences of his own firm as well as others.
Asher-Schapiro, Avi, “The Sharing Economy Is Propaganda,” Cato Unbound, Feb. 13, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Badger, Emily, “Airbnb is about to start collecting hotel taxes in more major cities, including Washington,” The Washington Post, Jan. 29, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Benkler, Yochai, “Sharing Nicely: On Shareable Goods and the Emergence of Sharing as a Modality of Economic Production,” Yale Law Journal, 2004, pp. 273–358, http://tinyurl.com/
Cannon, Sarah, and Lawrence H. Summers, “How Uber and the Sharing Economy Can Win Over Regulators,” Harvard Business Review, Oct. 13, 2014, https://hbr.org/
Cohen, Boyd, and Jan Kietzmann, “Ride On! Mobility Business Models for the Sharing Economy,” Organization & Environment, Aug. 31, 2014, http://oae.sagepub.com/
Feeney, Matthew, “Level the Playing Field—by Deregulating,” Cato Unbound, Feb. 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Kelly, Kevin, “We Are the Web,” Wired, August 2005, http://tinyurl.com/
Shafroth, Frank, “The Unforeseen Fiscal Challenges of Uber-Like Services,” Governing, March 20, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Sundararajan, Arun, “A Safety Net Fit for the Sharing Economy,” Financial Times, June 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Reports and Studies
“Alternative Financial Services: A Primer,” FDIC Quarterly, April 27, 2009, http://tinyurl.com/
Krueger, Alan B., and Jonathan V. Hall, “An Analysis of the Labor Market for Uber's Driver-Partners in the United States,” Working Paper #587, Princeton University, Jan. 22, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Schneiderman, Eric T., “Airbnb in the City,” New York State Office of the Attorney General, Oct. 14, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/
The Next Step
Goel, Vindu, “Start-Ups Clamor to Be the Airbnb of Boats,” The New York Times, June 10, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Sharam, Andrea, and Lyndall Bryant, “An Uber for apartments could solve some common housing problems,” The Conversation, July 20, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Zhuo, Tx, “5 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Niche Marketplaces,” Entrepreneur, May 14, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Badger, Emily, “Who millennials trust, and don't trust, is driving the new economy,” The Washington Post, April 16, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Peltz, Jennifer, “Cities keen on ‘sharing economy’ but concerned about safety,” The Associated Press, June 3, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Popper, Ben, “Uber can't be stopped. So what's next?” The Verge, July 27, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Bahceli, Yoruk, “Netherlands to make room in rules to stimulate ‘sharing economy,’” Reuters, July 20, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Howard, Alex, “Open data, crowdsourcing, and sharing economy tech take on new roles in disasters,” Tech Republic, Aug. 8, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Kerr, Dara, “‘Sharing economy’ apps to boom with their lure of cheap and easy,” CNET, April 14, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Lapowsky, Issie, “A Sharing Economy Star Shuts Down As Labor Issues Simmer,” Wired, July 17, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Macmillan, Douglas, “Sharing Economy Workers Need ‘Safety Net,’ U.S. Senator Says,” The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
Manjoo, Farhad, “Start-Ups Finding the Best Employees Are Actually Employed,” The New York Times, June 24, 2015, http://tinyurl.com/
888 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94103
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1000 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20001-5403
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1611 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, DC 20009
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Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580
The U.S. commission that is charged with preventing business practices considered anticompetitive, deceptive or unfair to consumers.
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Mercatus Center, George Mason University
3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor, Arlington, VA 22201-4508
Describes itself as “the world's premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems.”
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America
8700 W. Bryn Mawr, Suite 1200S, Chicago, IL 60631-3512
Trade association for property casualty insurers.
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