Scoping the Sharing Economy: Origins, Definitions, Impact and Regulatory Issues

Cristiano Codagnone and Bertin Martens (2016). Scoping the Sharing Economy: Origins, Definitions, Impact and Regulatory Issues. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies Digital Economy Working Paper 2016/01, JRC100369

36 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016

See all articles by Cristiano Codagnone

Cristiano Codagnone

Università degli studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Estudis de Ciències de la Informació i de la Comunicació

Bertin Martens

Joint Research Centre

Date Written: May 24, 2016

Abstract

This report selectively draws on the systematic review of a large set of data sources, which is presented elsewhere, and comprises 430 secondary sources. The report also provides a critical overview of key analytical, empirical, and normative dimensions of the ‘sharing economy’. It reviews both the rhetorical and controversial debates currently surrounding the topics and the available empirical evidence in order to sharpen our understanding of relevant policy and regulatory issues. The broad umbrella term 'sharing economy' is critically assessed and a typology developed that identifies the commercial 'peer to peer' sharing economy as the main focus of both controversies and policy-relevant issues. Empirical evidence of the benefits and costs of the sharing economy and its implications for sustainability and employment is very limited and inconclusive, particularly as regards the European landscape. This critical review, hence, shows that, as yet, there are no unambiguous answers to some of the fundamental questions about the ‘sharing economy’. The available research is too limited and patchy to give us a comprehensive and coherent picture. This report’s main contribution is to clear some of the conceptual and empirical fog around the ‘sharing economy’ and to identify where possible answers might be found in the future. It is suggested that the definition of sharing platforms should focus on P2P activities, as most of the policy concerns are found there. These include regulatory and consumer protection issues resulting from the informal production of services, potentially unfair competition with formal B2C service providers, and questions related to dominance and market power of P2P platform operators as commercial businesses.

Keywords: sharing economy, collaborative economy, peer-to-peer, multi-sided markets

JEL Classification: D12

Suggested Citation

Codagnone, Cristiano and Martens, Bertin, Scoping the Sharing Economy: Origins, Definitions, Impact and Regulatory Issues (May 24, 2016). Cristiano Codagnone and Bertin Martens (2016). Scoping the Sharing Economy: Origins, Definitions, Impact and Regulatory Issues. Institute for Prospective Technological Studies Digital Economy Working Paper 2016/01, JRC100369. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2783662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2783662

Cristiano Codagnone

Università degli studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali e Politiche ( email )

Via Festa del Perdono, 7
Milan, 20122
Italy

Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Estudis de Ciències de la Informació i de la Comunicació ( email )

Tibidabo Av. 39-43
08035 Barcelona, Barcelona 08035
Spain

Bertin Martens (Contact Author)

Joint Research Centre ( email )

Edificio Expo, C
Inca Garcilaso, s/n
Sevilla, E-41092
Spain

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