“Efficiencies and Regulatory Shortcuts: How Should We Regulate Companies like Airbnb and Uber?”, a new working paper from the Harvard Business School NOM Unit:
New software platforms use modern information technology, including full-featured web sites and mobile apps, to allow service providers and consumers to transact with relative ease and increased trust. These platforms provide notable benefits including reducing transaction costs, improving allocation of resources, and information and pricing efficiencies. Yet they also raise questions of regulation, including how regulation should adapt to new services and capabilities, and how to correct market failures that may arise. We explore these challenges and suggest an updated regulatory framework that is sufficiently flexible to allow software platforms to operate and deliver their benefits, while ensuring that service providers, users and third parties are adequately protected from harms that may arise.
This is one of the more difficult challenges in today’s regulatory environment.