Collaborative Economy : Does competition law have to evolve ?

Law & Economics workshop organised by Concurrences review with Étienne Pfister (Autorité de la concurrence), in partnership with Clifford Chance and RBB Economics.

Katrin Schallenberg

What is the collaborative economy? One part of the population holds assets and makes them available to another part that wishes to use them. This notion has existed for a long time, but the development of the internet and technology, especially online platforms, facilitates this connection between groups by reducing transaction costs. This business model has developed significantly in certain sectors such as transport, housing and finance. In Europe, these models have around one hundred million users and generate 4 billion euros with a growth of 35% per year. France is among the largest markets in terms of consumption via collaborative economy platforms. For example, Paris is the second largest city in terms of apartment rentals on Airbnb.

What are the economic and legal issues raised by the collaborative economy? Should the actors of this model be considered in a particular way? What is the competitive advantage of these actors? Do they harm competition and/or consumers? According to some critics, these players are not really innovative but have the advantage of escaping regulation in the sectors concerned, which raises an important question in relation to the level playing field in the sector in which they operate Should we intervene? If so, through regulation or ex-post intervention?

Photos © Léo-Paul Ridet

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