Legal Regulation of the Sharing Economy

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.9, 2017


Legal Regulation of the Sharing Economy



Jiang Daxing and Wang Shoujie


The sharing economy has emerged as an innovative business model in recent years. Given that it is very different from the traditional economy, existing rules are not a good fit for its regulatory requirements: innovative regulation is needed. At present, local governments have three different responses to the sharing of vehicles, dwellings and other forms of the sharing economy: explicit prohibition, sitting on the fence and explicit approval. These differential regulatory strategies show that there is some divergence over the concept and logic of regulating the sharing economy. According to the idea—principle—method analytical approach, legal regulation of the sharing economy should give priority to the idea of encouraging innovation; then, it should implement the principles of incentive regulation, innovation regulation, differential regulation and public regulation; and lastly, it should lock in regulatory points by adopting such regulatory strategies as the categorization of legal relations. The legal status of platforms, labor relations and competition law are the core issues in regulating the sharing economy, which has had a great impact upon existing legal systems: it has made transactions horizontal, diversified participants and fragmented the goods and services being shared. The sharing economy’s legal regulation involves a number of fields including labor law, contract law, competition law, tax law and intellectual property law, so requires a systemic regulatory response.