May 13, 2016

Elective – The History of Innovation

This History of Innovation discusses innovation and entrepreneurship in the United States from the 1820s until present including invention, corporate research and development, intellectual property, sources of investment, regulation, and American competitiveness in global markets. Through political speeches, advertisements, and patent records we learned about the evolution of markets, advances in science and technology, and development of public policy related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovations have impacted human interaction and development for example, the printing press, Ford’s assembly line, and the computer have changed not only how humans conduct business but also communicate. See my reflection The History of Innovation to learn a little bit more about the course.

Artifact: Airbnb Case Study

            The newly created sharing economy has revolutionized the way individuals utilize resources. Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb, a web-based service that connects travelers and hosts, has given individuals the opportunity to rent out their homes on a short-term basis.  Despite its rapid growth and wide appeal, Airbnb’s unique business model has raised challenging questions on how to regulate the home-sharing industry. This paper focuses on two important issues – the effect of Airbnb’s short-term rentals on housing supply and the safety and insurance ramifications of Airbnb’s operations – and proposes practical regulatory solutions that adequately address these considerations without compromising Airbnb’s innovative and unique business model.

            In the forthcoming case study, we begin by introducing the sharing economy, outlining its history, its basic elements, and its major players. We then introduce Airbnb, its history, its business model, and its key competitors. Next, we discuss the challenges in regulating the sharing economy, providing some legal and historical context. We go on to describe the long regulatory battle between Airbnb and New York State officials. These regulatory proceedings largely inform our ultimate conclusions and policy recommendations. Moving on to our recommendations, we first outline the key stakeholders involved in Airbnb’s business model. Finally, we explore two important issues in need of a more comprehensive regulatory scheme and propose policies to address the risk they pose, while preserving the benefits Airbnb delivers.