a16z Podcast: An Economics Take on the Sharing Economy

Love the term or hate it, the concept and reality of the “sharing economy” (or “gig economy” and so on) is here to stay. And in fact, argues NYU Stern professor and researcher Arun Sundararajan, it may even reduce the income distribution gap between the haves and have-nots in a way that previous shifts — like the Industrial Revolution and traditional 20th century institutions — never did. How?

Because it’s a new model for (crowd-based) capitalism — one where we’re increasing the segment of the population that owns the means of production. Or… have we just shifted value from traditional institutions to the platforms instead? Well, let’s see what the data tells us. In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Sundararajan (who is also affiliated with NYU’s Center for Urban Science+Progress and at NYU’s Center for Data Science) shares the latest findings, economics research, and more from his new book on The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism.

We cover the challenges of capturing this shift in GDP (as well as the challenges of GDP and measuring tech progress in general); the challenges of creating a new funding model for the “social safety net of the 21st century workforce”; the challenges of “data darwinism”, reputation, and ratings; and finally, how and just who should regulate the sharing economy?