Briefcase

Briefcase: Sharing Economy

An interview with Assistant Professor Kellen Zale

Technology driven companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft are changing the way people use their property, enabling anyone with a car or a spare bedroom to compete with taxis and hotels. Assistant Professor Kellen Zale with the University of Houston Law Center, has done research on what is being dubbed the “sharing economy.”

“People have always shared their property in the sense of allowing others to use it,” Zale said. But these activities have been considered informal. Now it is happening in a way that is commercialized, with technology enabling it and tracking it.”
Assistant Professor Zale agrees this presents challenges to local governments. “Existing regulations don’t work very well with a peer to peer sharing model, but it can be done,” she said. “We’re at the beginning of the regulatory process. It is going to require ongoing reevaluation as technology evolves. And that’s what the law is equipped to do.”

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