Sharing Economy Debate: N/LAB Chapter Raises Key Questions

N/LAB Director, Prof Andrew Smith and new N/LAB member Dr John Harvey discuss their contribution to a major new book on the sharing economy.

The Sharing economy is a term used loosely and that is problematic. Prof Smith explains why. “The Sharing Economy is a complex term. ‘Sharing’ is used to describe monetized exchange like Uber or it can encompass exchanges that more readily resemble gifting or donation, like food banks or sending money home to family if working abroad. The fact that the term describes such diverse behaviour is a real problem. Labels are important. The chapter seeks to clearly delineate between these disparate forms of exchange with particular reference to the impact of ubiquitous online technology. It draws on our insights from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation project (examining financial exchange in Tanzania), the Neo-Demographic project funded by RCUK and the Horizon RCUK grant. This funding has given us unpresented access to data and sparked big conversations about the real nature of sharing and exchange in emerging and established economies. We distil these insights into a coherent whole in order to make a theoretical and practical contribution to this debate.”

Full citation:

Harvey J, Smith A Golightly D. (2018). Online Technology as a Driver of Sharing. In Albinsson P A, Y Perera B (Ed.), The Rise of the Sharing Economy: Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities of Collaborative Consumption . (pp. 75-96). Santa Barbara, California, USA: Praeger


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