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Authors

Andrew T. Bond

Document Type

Essay

Abstract

The revolution of the Internet in the late 1990s brought consumers together in unique and unprecedented ways. The evolution of the sharing economy in the early twenty-first century builds upon the Internet’s revolution by connecting consumers and unused resources in a readily accessible and efficient manner.

At the same time, the sharing economy puts new pressures on local governments in choosing how to respond to this evolution. One method of evaluating local government responses is through a paradigmatic example. In this Essay, that case study is Uber: a novel and unabashedly antagonistic transportation service that offers on-demand taxi access through a cell phone application. Uber is no stranger to starting fights—and winning. Uber has simultaneously fought the taxi industry, regulators, its rivals, and even its customers. Local governments should not be on the losing side of that laundry list. This Essay focuses on local government responses to Uber and the new sharing economy. Both Uber’s impact on the taxi industry and municipal reactions provide insight into the larger question of how local governments respond to rapid advances in technology.

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