Japan Meets the Sharing Economy: Contending Frames

Posted: 4 Jan 2021 Last revised: 5 Jan 2021

See all articles by Thomas G. Altura

Thomas G. Altura

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business

Yuki Hashimoto

Graduate School of Economics, the University of Tokyo

Sanford M. Jacoby

University of California, Los Angeles

Kaoru Kanai

Saitama University - Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Kazuro Saguchi

University of Tokyo - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: October 30, 2020

Abstract

The ‘sharing economy’ epitomized by Airbnb and Uber has challenged business, labor, and regulatory institutions throughout the world. The arrival of Airbnb and Uber in Japan provided an opportunity for Prime Minister Abe’s administration to demonstrate its commitment to deregulation. Both platform companies garnered support from powerful governmental and industry actors who framed the sharing economy as a solution to various economic and social problems. However, they met resistance from actors elsewhere in government, the private sector, and civil society, who constructed competing frames. Unlike studies that compare national responses to the sharing economy, we contrast the different experiences and fates of Airbnb and Uber within a single country. Doing so highlights actors, framing processes, and within-country heterogeneity. The study reveals the limits of overly institutionalized understandings of Japanese political economy. It also contributes to current debates concerning Prime Minister Abe’s efforts at implementing deregulation during the 2010s.

Keywords: Japan, institutional change, deregulation, framing, Uber, Airbnb, sharing economy, taxis, gig workers, regulatory politics, Shinzo Abe, transportation, political economy

JEL Classification: L2, L5, M1, F6

Suggested Citation

Altura, Thomas G. and Hashimoto, Yuki and Jacoby, Sanford M. and Kanai, Kaoru and Saguchi, Kazuro, Japan Meets the Sharing Economy: Contending Frames (October 30, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3721744

Thomas G. Altura (Contact Author)

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business ( email )

One Washington Square
San Jose, CA 95192-0066
United States

Yuki Hashimoto

Graduate School of Economics, the University of Tokyo ( email )

Yayoi 1-1-1
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657
Japan

Sanford M. Jacoby

University of California, Los Angeles ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90095-1481
United States
310-2109362 (Phone)

Kaoru Kanai

Saitama University - Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

255 Shimo-Okubo, Sakura-ku, Saitama-shi
Saitama
Japan

Kazuro Saguchi

University of Tokyo - Faculty of Economics ( email )

7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113-0033
Japan

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