Emory Law Journal


Abbey Stemler


A deflated air mattress rests in the corner of Airbnb¿s world headquarters. It symbolizes how Airbnb allows regular, local people to earn extra income by renting out space in their homes. Yet, this symbolism fails to represent what the company has become¿a unicorn receiving much of its revenue from professionals with full-time listings. The poorly folded wad of plastic exemplifies the Myth of the Sharing Economy, which has been consistently used to subvert regulation. While much has been written regarding the benefits of the sharing economy and how to regulate it, and disruptive innovations more broadly, this Article is the first to critique the sharing economy by exploring the intersection between narrative and regulation. It also distills lessons for regulating future innovations and demonstrates the importance of questioning the difference between rhetoric and reality to achieve public policy goals.