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The sharing economy is a new industrial structure that is made possible by instantaneous internet communication and changes in the life, work, and purchasing habits of individual entrepreneurs and consumers. Antitrust law is an economic regulatory scheme dating back to 1890 in the United States that is designed to address centrally controlled concentrations of economic power and the threats that those concentrations pose to consumer interests and economic efficiency. In order to accommodate a modern enterprise structure in which thousands or millions of independent contractors join forces to provide a service by agreement among themselves, antitrust law requires re-envisioning and careful application. The success of Uber, Airbnb, and other sharing economy firms, and the consumer benefits that those firms promise, show both how difficult and how important that re-envisioning can be.


Authors: Mark Anderson & Mark Huffman