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Peer-to-peer pressure: policy for the sharing economy

Policy Online carries a link (14.4.16) to a new Grattan Institute report highlighting changes to the economic landscape arising from the advent of so-called 'peer to peer' online business platforms. The report includes recommendations for policy responses to this 'digital disruption'.

'The rise of the sharing economy can save Australians more than $500 million on taxi bills, help them to put underused property and other assets to work, and increase employment and income for people on the fringe of the job market. The prize for getting this new online economy right is large and governments should not try to slow its growth in order to protect vested interests.

'Peer-to-peer platforms such as Airbnb and Uber use online technology to help strangers interact and do business. Platforms host markets in accommodation, travel, art, finance and labour, among other fields. While the private sector will drive the peer-to-peer economy, government can play an important role to support its growth while reducing any downsides.

'Some say peer-to-peer platforms bring hidden costs by risking work standards, consumer safety and local amenity, and by potentially eroding the tax base. These worries are not groundless but they should not be used as excuses to retain policies, such as taxi regulation, that were designed for another era and no longer fit.'

 

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