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The Collaborative Economy: Socioeconomic, Regulatory and Labor Issues

This briefing from the European Parliment Think Tank provides a discussion of economic, regulatory, labor and social issues related to the sharing economy (collaborative economy). It provides a definition for the collaborative economy, placing it in the context of a range of past and current definitions, and proposing a new term, “crowd-based capitalism,” as a term that unifies changes across different industries.

It outlines how this new form of commercial exchange blurs the lines between personal and commercial, elevating the importance of social factors in creating commercial trust. It reflects on how the economic returns from the sharing economy may be repartitioned across social actors, and the promise of lower economic inequality. It outlines new approaches to regulating the sharing economy, the necessity of carefully designed self-regulatory mechanisms, the promise of data-driven delegation, and a set of principles to draw the right lines between the government and the platforms.

It concludes with a summary of the state of the independent workforce and outlines approaches for creating a new social contract as society shifts away from employment and towards freelance work.

This document was prepared by Professor Arun Sundararajan at the request of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection.