We are pleased to announce that International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL) is inviting scholars and practitioners of all levels of experience to submit paper proposals for a special session on ‘Sharing Economy and the Law’, to be held on July 29, 2018 in Fukoka, Japan. The last date for submission of paper abstracts is March 30, 2018. For further details, please see the call for papers below:
International Academy of Comparative law
22-28 July 2018
SPECIAL SESSION: SHARING ECONOMY AND THE LAW
Call for Papers
International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL) is organising its General Congress which is going to take place on July 22-28, 2018 in Fukuoka, Japan. On July 29, 2018, a special session entitled “Sharing Economy and the Law” chaired by Prof. Shinto Teramoto of Kyushu University (Japan). This session will be devoted to address cutting-edge legal issues related to the rise of sharing economy.
30 March 2018: Submission of paper abstracts
20 April 2018: Notification about selection results
20 June 2018: Submission of final papers
Conceptual Background of the Session on Sharing Economy
The notion of innovation is used in different contexts and is understood in multiple different ways. One of the more prevailing notions of innovation stems from the classical work of Joseph Schumpeter who referred to the idea of “New Combination”. Innovation occurs when one kind of resources such as knowledge, energy, finances, human beings and their respective demands or dreams, etc. are matched with another kind of resource which is in demand.
Sharing economy and sharing or matching platforms using information and communication technology are often viewed as the most recent development of such new combination. Various studies show that there is a vast amount of superfluous or unused resources omnipresent in the society. Nevertheless, for a long time such surpluses of resources held by separate individuals have not been utilized due to the lack of matching of unused resources with the existing demand in the market.
The ubiquity of the Internet facilitated the emergence of every kind of online sharing and matching platforms where owners of assets, property, or any kind of unused or superfluous resources are able to connect with potential users of those privately owned resources. Members or subscribers of such online sharing and matching platforms as WeWork, Airbnb, Uber, etc. are able to exchange money for the possibility of using office space, lodging or means of commuting.
Online sharing and matching platforms not only reduce information asymmetry in the market but also increase the value of unused resources. By connecting owners of omnipresent surplus of resources and new groups of users, online sharing and matching platforms created new markets, opened new avenues for collaboration and innovation.
Sharing economy has been instrumental in facilitating the shift from a culture of exclusive and proprietary use of personal assets towards a culture where owners of personal assets have neighbors or much wider scope of people to share access to their personal assets. Giving access to those assets also enables the owners to share the maintenance cost with any third-party users. This transition has been further stimulated by both peer-to-peer and global market platforms realized by the Internet and cloud computing which connect everyone who wants to access resources and enable underutilised assets to be more efficiently exploited. It should be noted that such Internet platforms drastically reduce our cost in finding resources or possible users who may want to use our resources.
However, simply reducing our search cost in finding partners of transaction does not necessarily mean that we can easily deal with one another, unless we can trust one another as reasonable partners to exchange resources. What is notable in the modern sharing economy is that online sharing platforms act as intermediaries which contribute to building trust between the participants in the global communities of actors who share or want to share resources. From an economic point of view, sharing economy paves the way for new economic opportunities, a more sustainable form of consumption and decentralised and equitable patterns of collaboration and sharing.
Due to fundamentally different ways of realizing value, sharing economy has notable ramifications to the the economic, social and political aspects of the exploitation of shared resources. In particular, sharing economy is expected to enable more sustainable use of resources, mandates the adoption of more flexible employment frameworks, facilitates bottom-up self-regulating mechanisms, curtails prices for consumers and leads to more closely tailored and customized products for users.
These changes in our society and economics brought by sharing economy also requires lawyers to change their (our) way of thinking and make necessary improvements in the law. Modern laws devoted themselves in internalizing external diseconomies. The emergence of new forms of sharing resources and collaboration requires to at least have a discussion whether any modifications to the current legal framework are necessary in the age of sharing economy.
For example, tort law and products liability law aims to determine the person who should be responsible to stop particular harmful activity or compensate for damage. This way of thinking was quite reasonable when private parties utilize common resources to generate their personal profit, while affecting the society by pollution of air or water, or having citizens subject to various risks caused by the activities of certain industries. In contrast, sharing economy externalizes personal but superfluous and underused resources and makes them shared by wider scope of consumers and other members of the society. This may demand the law and lawyers to move away from their (our) familiar “internalization of external diseconomies” and to dive into new thinking such as shared responsibilities or shared damages.
Call for Papers
Scholars and practitioners of all levels of experience are invited to submit paper proposals from legal, economic or interdisciplinary perspective. Proposed papers may address one or more of the following topics:
Improving regulatory schemes to facilitate the proliferation of sharing economy business models;
How regulatory schemes could be improved in order to facilitate sharing of both of resources and costs including risks and damages;
Adjusting regulatory schemes to facilitate collaboration of citizens or citizens and industries and innovation in the context of sharing economy;
Adjusting compliance costs and taxes to facilitate growth of sharing economy businesses;
How the conventional contracts and insurance can adjust themselves to fit sharing economy;
The possibility of international harmonization of regulatory schemes for sharing economy businesses.
Paper proposals should be in English and contain not more than 800 words be sent together with the applicant’s name, title and affiliation no later than 30 March 2018. Paper abstracts may be submitted to the Chairman of the Session, Professor Shinto Teramoto at: [email protected]iacl2018fukuoka.info in PDF, MS word, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote or using Google Drive.
Notification of the outcome of the selection process will be made by 20 April 2018.
Final versions of selected papers will have to be submitted by 20 June 2018. Selected papers will be published in a separate book or a special volume of an academic journal (further requirements regarding the submissions of final papers will be provided after the selection process is over). The authors of selected papers are expected to prepare papers as well as visual media for their presentations at the congress.