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Sharing Economy Research Guide: Introduction

Advanced Legal Research, Fall 2016


Explore this LibGuide to learn more about the sharing economy.


This guide has been created by Carissa Laughlin in support of Professor Diamond's Advanced Legal Research class for Fall 2016.

The contents of this guide should not be taken as legal advice or as the work product of Mizzou Law librarians.


Please note that all case law, statutory law, and law review articles may be found on legal search engines WestlawNext and LexisAdvance. However, all of the aforementioned sources will be linked to free search engines (e.g. Google Scholar or government websites) for users who may not have access to WestlawNext and the like. 



This research guide is intended for use by those interested in the sharing economy, a new form of economic activity through digital platforms allowing people to create and share goods and services with one another. The sharing economy represents a generational shift in consumer values and purchasing preferences. Every day, entrepreneurs create new ways to provide goods, services, car rides, vacation stays, money, clothes, and more to consumers in ways previously unimagined. Beyond stand-out companies like Uber and Airbnb which offer ride-sharing and home-sharing services, consumers can borrow a car on Turo, connect to someone else's WiFi on Fon, and find a pet-sitter on DogVacay. In addition, many sharing economy companies are infiltrating traditional marketplaces, and replacing their traditional counterparts. For example, ThredUp is a form of online retail usurping the need for brick-and-mortar stores, and Prosper is overriding the need for traditional banks when consumers need a loan. Although most of these sharing economy companies were founded less than a decade ago, many are competitive, if not superior in market value, to their traditional counterparts. 

The sharing economy, a primarily peer-to-peer industry, has taken the world by storm, but not without its problems. No regulatory scheme exists that encompasses sharing economy issues regarding taxation, insurance, and employment to name a few. This research guide is an attempt to compile useful information relevant to the sharing economy and its legal implications. Although the sharing economy changes every day, there are certain entities (such as the IRS) that have attempted to provide assistance and clarity to entrepreneurs in this highly unregulated economic sector. Informative research sources available today include law review and journal articles, well-researched news articles, law firm and attorney blogs, and pending litigation. 

I hope this guide can provide users with useful information and research tips for future research endeavors. Tabs 2-5 are designated to specific areas of law. Areas like tax, employment, insurance, and alternative dispute resolution are facing current issues within the sharing economy. Each tab includes resources to provide information regarding the tab's respective area of law in conjunction with the sharing economy. Tabs 6-7, pending litigation and current awareness tools, share information regarding other non-traditional research mechanisms that can shed light on multiple aspects of the sharing economy.