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Abstract

The sharing economy is transforming economies around the world, entering markets for lodging, ride hailing, home services, and other sectors that previously lacked robust person-to-person alternatives. Its expansion has been contentious and its meanings polysemic. It launched with a utopian discourse promising economic, social, and environmental benefits, which critics have questioned. In this review, we discuss its origins and intellectual foundations, internal tensions, and appeal for users. We then turn to impacts, focusing on efforts to generate user trust through digital means, tendency to reconfigure and exacerbate class and racial inequalities, and failure to reduce carbon footprints. Though the transformative potential of the sharing economy has been limited by commercialization and more recently by the pandemic, its kernel insight—that digital technology can support logics of reciprocity—retains its relevance even now.

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2021-07-31
2024-07-14
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