Baring the Sharing Economy: Concepts, Classification, Findings, and Future Directions
48 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2017 Last revised: 17 Jan 2018
Date Written: December 28, 2017
This paper reviews the rapidly growing research in the area of the sharing economy. Considerable confusion exists about what constitutes the sharing economy, what has caused its growth, and which terms best describe the phenomenon, while the appearance of papers in different disciplines has hindered a summary of what is known and unknown so far. This paper explains the drivers of the rise of the sharing economy, defines what constitutes the sharing economy, and develops a framework to classify such platforms, research areas, and papers. It identifies 28 theoretical propositions and 58 empirical findings, which it classifies under six broad categories. The empirical papers use seven methods that differ substantially in rigor and popularity across sub-areas. Only a modest match exists between theoretical propositions and empirical findings. However, a common theme emerging from this review is that the sharing economy is transforming our society. The authors argue that the rich set of propositions and findings discussed in this paper can inform managers about strategies, lawmakers, regulators, and municipalities about policy, and researchers about future directions. For this purpose, the paper discusses the strengths and limitations of the papers reviewed and suggests an agenda for future research.
Keywords: sharing economy, gig economy, peer-to-peer markets, collaborative consumption
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