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The Darker Side of the Sharing Economy

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Date: Thursday 11 July
Venue: Hawthorn Campus

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Seoul, South Korea, is known as one of the first global cities to endorse officially the sharing economy, having proclaimed the Sharing City Seoul Project in 2012. The project is seen as comprising of “social innovation measures that have been designed to create new economic opportunities, to restore reliable relationships, and to reduce the wasting of resources with a view to resolving urban economic, social and environmental problems all together.” Lofty and worthy as these goals may be, in reality Seoul is struggling to put in place a governance structure for its sharing economy.

This paper examines the current regulatory regime governing the sharing economy in Seoul and the surrounding province of Gyunggido before turning to look more closely and critically at the case of the mobility market in Seoul that is mirrored in the rest of the country. One could not ask for a better example of the conflict, uncertainty and opportunism that arise when creative destruction meets the incumbent’s desperate need to maintain the status quo. Cities looking to promote the sharing economy need not only to look at its positive benefits but also consider carefully what measures are needed to deal with the inevitable downside of the sharing economy.



Hee-Kyoung Spiritas Cho, Professor of Law
Hongik University College of Law, Seoul, South Korea

Hohyun Lee
Hongik University College of Law, Seoul, South Korea

Contact Information: Kelli Larson