The overall objective of the course is to describe and analyze the functioning of the sharing (or peer-to-peer) economy. This analysis will be based on factual descriptions of peer-to-peer platforms / markets in specific sectors (e.g., short-term housing market (AirBnB), for-hire transportation market (Uber, Lyft), etc.) but also on analysis using economic theory models as well as empirical analysis of some of these markets. We will aim to identify the critical features that differentiate the sharing economy from other industries, and examine the implications for business strategy.
The class will discuss topics such as platform markets, algorithms (price and recommandation), trust mechanisms used by platforms, taxation issues, impact of the sharing economy on the labor market and labor laws, the regulation of peer-to-peer platforms.
To complement the economic theory, students will present a case study (on one particular platform or sector) each week. These case studies have three aims: to provide applications for the concepts developed during the class, to inform you about different industries; and to help develop your written, rhetorical and presentation skills.