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Professor Arun Sundararajan Speaks About Regulation of the Sharing Economy on a Congressional Panel

Arun Sundararajan Speaks Regulation of the Sharing Economy on a Congressional Panel article

I think that we should wait and see what the market actually provides and then reframe our regulations so that the government’s intervention is surgical.

On December 8, Professor Arun Sundararajan spoke on a Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee panel on the regulation of the sharing economy. The discussion, entitled, “Should Congress be Caring about Sharing? Regulation and the Future of Uber, Airbnb and the Sharing Economy,” was moderated by Alex Howard, columnist, TechRepublic, and founder, E Pluribus Unum.
 
Arun Sundararajan Speaks Regulation of the Sharing Economy on a Congressional Panel

Professor Sundararajan debated the regulatory, public policy and societal implications of the sharing economy along with fellow panelists David Hantman, head of global public policy, Airbnb; Adam Thierer, senior research fellow, Mercatus Research Center at George Mason University; and John Breyault, VP of public policy, telecommunications and fraud, National Consumers League. During the discussion, Professor Sundarajan highlighted the purpose of government regulation and, in light of the fact that the sharing economy self-regulates in some ways, proposed that lawmakers should proceed cautiously:

We want government regulation when markets can’t provide something that society needs by themselves. …In a capitalist society, if markets are getting the outcomes that society wants, then we don’t want regulation; we’d like to have the markets take care of themselves. Because of the fact that we’re transitioning into an economy where more and more commerce is a person providing a service to another person, mediated by a platform, it’s likely that the market is going to be able to do some of the things that we previously needed the government for. … I think that we should wait and see what the market actually provides and then reframe our regulations so that the government’s intervention is surgical: it’s there when it’s needed, it’s there to correct these market failures, it’s there to ensure things like wheelchair-accessible cars and fire safety, and it’s not there when the market is taking care of itself.
 
Listen to the event podcast.