The so-called sharing economy promises to fundamentally change consumption patterns, value chains as well as economic activities. In our research, we investigated, among other things, the efficiency, mechanics, and evolution of sharing markets, the impact of the sharing economy on market, industry, and employment structures, the role of data and data access, and the need for regulatory reforms. In addition, we investigated complementary aspects of the platform economy and Internet policy.
This research group conducted research at the Weizenbaum Institute from 2017 to 2022. In the newly launched research program, research will henceforth be organised in 16 research groups. These will be flanked and supported by the new Weizenbaum Digital Science Center.
Sharing approaches enable new forms of allocation by using mostly idle capacities. New potentials for improving efficiency and increasing economic and ecological sustainability emerge above all through internet-based intermediation between suppliers and consumers. However, it is necessary to identify the associated risks and challenges and appropriately address them to exploit such potentials. This gives rise to a wealth of research questions that partially require interdisciplinary approaches or at least benefit from them.
Due to its interdisciplinary composition, the research group combined methods and perspectives from economics, law, sociology, and computer science. This enabled the group to conduct studies and analyses that contribute to a more differentiated understanding of various individual phenomena and help identify and describe connections between them.
In their research projects the research group examined economic frameworks, trust, switching barriers, and participation in the sharing economy. Other key issues were the interplay between data and regulatory frameworks in the sharing economy, focusing on the online platform Airbnb, the role of trade unions in the organization and mobilization of workers in the gig economy, and switching barriers between online platforms. Furthermore, the group explored alternative sharing approaches in the context of digital infrastructures and addressed questions of internet policy – especially network neutrality.
Research Group Lead
Research Group Assistant
To the current research program