Along with a team of Stanford University Sociologists led by Karen Cook and Paolo Parigi, I am conducting a study on behalf of Airbnb to understand the social consequences of sharing goods and services with strangers.
Karen has published multiple books on the formation of Trust in modern societies and more recently on the role of Trust in the online world. Paolo is also interested in social networks and has conducted previous studies of Trust in the sharing economy.
Together we will be surveying Airbnb members to better understand Trust inside and outside of the sharing economy, as well as what drives changes in Trust. Stay tuned for more!
A paper written by Samuel Fraiberger and Arun Sundarajan of New York University about sharing economy companies such as Uber and Airbnb claims to show that
“…below-median income consumers will enjoy a disproportionate fraction of eventual welfare gains from this kind of ‘sharing economy’ through broader inclusion, higher quality rental-based consumption, and new ownership facilitated by rental supply revenues…”.
Commentators, such as Mashable, of the paper write that, while historically emphasis has been placed on the benefits to the consumer of increased access to higher quality products, this study looks at the other side of the equation and identifies short term and long term benefits to the suppliers also.
It remains to be seen if these benefits really hold in the longer term and can be sustained as momentum in the sharing economy gathers. Moreover, if these companies move towards IPO, then it is unclear how the pressure of shareholders will sit these positive effects.