2017 Fraser Institute Essay Contest for High School, Undergraduate and Post graduate Students

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Showcase your ideas on public policy and the role of markets by entering our essay competition. $9,000 in cash prizes will be awarded with $3,000 of this is designated just for high school students! Winning essays may be published in Fraser Institute journals and authors will have the opportunity to experience the peer review process.

2017 Topic: Regulating the Sharing Economy: Do the Costs Outweigh the Benefits?

The sharing economy, as defined by Christopher Koopman, Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, “is any marketplace that brings together distributed networks of individuals to share or exchange otherwise underutilized assets. It encompasses all manner of goods and services shared or exchanged for both monetary and nonmonetary benefit.”

The sharing economy has fundamentally changed the way people think about traditional ways of transportation and vacation stays. In 2014, it was recorded that AirBnb hosted more guests on an annual basis than the infamous Hilton Worldwide chain. In New York alone, “between 2012-2013, over 400,000 Airbnb guests visited New York City  generating over $632 million in economic activity in the city.” Similarly, by 2015, only a few short years after its inception, Uber was active in over 250 cities worldwide and had completed over 1 billion rides – fundamentally changing the taxi industry as we know it.

Although synonymous with Uber and Airbnb, the sharing economy continues to break boundaries and drastically shape different industries in ways regulators and policy makers never could have imagined. Such disruption has forced regulators around the world to conceptualize ways to integrate consumer protection regulations into the sharing economy. However, as noted by Koopman et al., “the key contribution of the sharing economy is that it has overcome market imperfections without recourse to traditional forms of regulation.”

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Should industries participating within the sharing economy be held to the same regulatory standards as their traditional counterparts (i.e. Should Uber and its drivers be regulated the same as the Taxi company and subsequently its drivers in your city?) With a fundamental market change in how consumers wish to conduct business (i.e. shift to peer-to-peer services) can these traditional regulations really apply? Would such regulations improve the general well-being of our communities?



1. The contest is open to Canadian and international

students. A student is defined as someone who attends school in the 2016/2017 school yearor is enrolled to attend in 2017/2018.

2. Submissions will be considered from secondary and post-secondary (undergraduate and graduate) students in all disciplines.

3. There will be three separate categories: high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. The category definitions are based on your status in the 2016/2017 school year; for example, if you are an undergraduate student from fall 2016 until spring 2017, you qualify in the ‘Undergraduate’ category.

4. An essay can have more than one author, and any prizes awarded will be split evenly between the authors. The category in which the essay will be considered will be that of the author with the highest level of education; for example, if you are an undergraduate student and you co-author with a graduate student, your essay will be considered in the graduate category.

5. Essay must be between 1,000-1,500 words, not including references.

6. Entry must be a single document, the header of each page of the essay must include the author’s full name and a page number.

7. Essay entry must include a cover page, which the name of the author(s), mailing address, phone number, and e-mail address. High school students should include school and grade. Post-secondary students should include school, major, and year of graduation.

8. Entries must be submitted online in .pdf or .doc format.

9. Entries may only be submitted once. Further submissions with revisions will not be accepted.

10. Entries must include references cited from academic sources. Any academically acceptable referencing style may be used.

11. Please note that if you are a finalist and include a graph in your essay, you will be required to send it to us in an Excel file with the underlying data in order that we can recreate it in house. If you want to include a previously published graph for which you do not have the underlying data, you must cite its source appropriately to prove that you have permission to reuse it.

12. Failure to follow these rules may lead to disqualification from the contest.

13. Entries will be judged on originality, clear expression of ideas, and understanding of competitive markets and/or the impact of government intervention.

14. All entries and ideas become the property of the Fraser Institute. In addition to receiving cash prizes, winners may be published in Canadian Student Review once they have gone through the peer review process.

15. Winners will be announced in the fall of 2017.

For more information, please call: 1-800-665-3558, ext 538 or email student@fraserinstitute.org


June 1, 2017.

Categories and Prizes;

High School Undergraduate Graduate
1st Prize: $1,500 1st Prize: $1,500 1st Prize: $1,500
2nd Prize: $1,000 2nd Prize: $1,000 2nd Prize: $1,000
3rd Prize: $500 3rd Prize: $500 3rd Prize: $500


You may visit the contest web page here; https://www.fraserinstitute.org/education-programs/students/essay-contest



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