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Open Access 2022 | Open Access | Book

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The Sharing Economy in Europe

Developments, Practices, and Contradictions

Editors: Dr. Vida Česnuitytė, Prof. Dr. Andrzej Klimczuk, Dr. Cristina Miguel, Dr. Gabriela Avram

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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About this book

This open access book considers the development of the sharing and collaborative economy with a European focus, mapping across economic sectors, and country-specific case studies. It looks at the roles the sharing economy plays in sharing and redistribution of goods and services across the population in order to maximise their functionality, monetary exchange, and other aspects important to societies. It also looks at the place of the sharing economy among various policies and how the contexts of public policies, legislation, digital platforms, and other infrastructure interrelate with the development and function of the sharing economy.

The book will help in understanding the future (sharing) economy models as well as to contribute in solving questions of better access to resources and sustainable innovation in the context of degrowth and growing inequalities within and between societies. It will also provide a useful source for solutions to the big challenges of our times such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and recently the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19).

This book will be of interest to academics and students in economics and business, organisational studies, sociology, media and communication and computer science.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Introduction

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. The Sharing Economy in Europe: From Idea to Reality
Abstract
This chapter explains the rationale behind the book. It provides basic definitions of the concept of the sharing economy as well as the primary meanings related to the subject of the analysis undertaken in the subsequent chapters. This Introduction also includes a description of the main benefits of the analysis of the sharing economy from a European perspective. It highlights that the idea of the book emerged from the collaboration of most co-authors in the COST Action CA16121 ‘From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy.’ Finally, the outline of the book is presented, providing a description of the content of each chapter within this academic collection.
Cristina Miguel, Gabriela Avram, Andrzej Klimczuk, Bori Simonovits, Bálint Balázs, Vida Česnuitytė

Development of the Sharing Economy in Europe

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 2. A Conceptualisation of the Sharing Economy: Towards Theoretical Meaningfulness
Abstract
The sharing economy aims to redistribute existing goods (e.g., tools, cars) across the population in order to maximise their functionality. Within sharing economies, there can be monetary exchange (e.g., Airbnb, BlaBlaCar), or the exchange can be altruistic (e.g., Timebanking, CouchSurfing). Nevertheless, sharing economy platforms mainly function as digital marketplaces where supply and demand are matched. The rise of sharing economy practices is followed by a torrent of publications. As a result, there is conceptual confusion about the sharing economy concept. This chapter aims to provide an answer to this challenge by following the framework for theoretical meaningfulness. Through two levels of literature analysis, the chapter aims to shed light on the conceptualisation of the sharing economy.
Cristina Miguel, Esther Martos-Carrión, Mijalche Santa

Open Access

Chapter 3. The Context of Public Policy on the Sharing Economy
Abstract
The purpose of this chapter is to analyse approaches to the sharing economy from the perspective of public policy science. In the first part of the text, attention is paid to perceiving the development of the emerging sharing economy not only as phenomenon with positive economic effects but also as a set of public problems (e.g., on the labour market and for existing economic structures) that require intervention at the level of national governments as well as at international level. Subsequent sections identify possible actions for regulating the development of the sharing economy. The role of soft law, stakeholders’ networks, self-regulation and standardisation are discussed in the chapter. The summary includes potential directions for further research.
Błażej Koczetkow, Andrzej Klimczuk

Open Access

Chapter 4. The Regulatory Context and Legal Evolution: The Cases of Airbnb and Uber
Abstract
Whilst sharing economy has been enjoying increasing popularity worldwide over the last decade; its legal definition has been debatable. This is aligning with the fact that the European Union has not provided the legal framework for the sharing economy yet, apart from a European Commission Communication from 2016. This Communication seeks a balance between the support of a Digital Single Market in the EU and the protection of the consumers’ rights and leaves a broad space for national legislations to respond to the phenomenon of sharing economy. The aim of this chapter is to address these issues within the framework of two sharing economy case studies: Airbnb and Uber as the only source at the EU level of applicable law besides the EC Communication.
Kosjenka Dumančić, Natalia-Rozalia Avlona

Mapping Sectors of the Sharing Economy in European Countries

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 5. Shared Mobility: A Reflection on Sharing Economy Initiatives in European Transportation Sectors
Abstract
Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right. The transportation sector, therefore, holds high socio-economic significance—while contributing almost a quarter of Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions and being a major air polluter. Key parts of the ‘collaborative and sharing economy’ relate to transport, including peer-to-peer and on-demand transportation. While these forms of ‘collaborative consumption’ may be seen as promoting environmental sustainability, such models also generate inequality and regulatory disputes (e.g., Uber’s workers and licences), leading to stakeholder conflict. This chapter examines the importance of the main shared mobility services within the transportation sector, their contribution to changing mobility habits, and their connection to sustainable development issues. We also consider conflicts in different European countries caused by shared mobility and the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agnieszka Lukasiewicz, Venere Stefania Sanna, Vera Lúcia Alves Pereira Diogo, Anikó Bernát

Open Access

Chapter 6. Peer-To-Peer Accommodation in Europe: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities
Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the evolution of the peer-to-peer (P2P) accommodation phenomenon in Europe and to examine the key trends noticeable in the sector, including any external factors that influence P2P accommodation operations, practices and future development. Correspondingly, the chapter also examines the opportunities and challenges that emerge from P2P accommodation’s rapid growth. As such, the chapter aims to contribute to the ongoing discussion on the evolution of P2P accommodation platforms in Europe. Specifically, the chapter offers insights that may illuminate the understanding of the drivers, inhibitors, and influencers pertinent to the phenomenon’s development and resilience potential in the COVID-19 pandemic era.
Anna Farmaki, Cristina Miguel

Open Access

Chapter 7. From Uberisation to Commoning: Experiences, Challenges, and Potential Pathways of the Sharing Economy in Food Supply Chains in Europe
Abstract
The chapter explores a broad dimensionality of experiences, learnings, challenges, and potential pathways of the sharing economy in food supply chains. Through technology-enabled business applications, the mobilisation of underutilised assets has been successfully facilitated in the foodservice industry. Community-based models have been relying on the mutual risk-sharing of producers and consumers. Service models and the uberisation of food, when contract workers use their personal vehicles to deliver food to customers, has gained more acknowledgement during the COVID-19 times. Based on our qualitative study, various peer-to-peer production and collaborative consumption initiatives are presented in this chapter to assess how the idea of sharing economy entered the food sector. Our arguments are substantiated with varied case examples at multiple value chain points (e.g., production, processing, transport, and consumption).
Bori Simonovits, Bálint Balázs

Open Access

Chapter 8. Unpacking the Financial Services and Crowdfunding Evolution in the Sharing Economy
Abstract
Sharing economy is a phenomenon emerging in all aspects of social and business practices. While its impact is most prominent in the mobility and accommodation domain, some of the earliest demonstrations of the benefits of the sharing economy have occurred in financial services. Financial services in the sharing economy range from peer-to-peer lending to crowdfunding with participation from new start-ups and incumbent financial service providers with for-profit or non-profit goals. Given the variety of elements represented in financial services, there is a great need to collect and connect what has been done and to identify some common themes, which will serve as a basis for future discussions on the evolution of financial services in the sharing economy.
Agnieszka Lukasiewicz, Mijalche Santa

Open Access

Chapter 9. Education, Knowledge and Data in the Context of the Sharing Economy
Abstract
The Open Education model, where anyone on the planet with access to Internet can enrol in an online course, learn at their own pace, and have their assignments assessed by peers, is at the base of platforms such as Khan Academy, Udacity, Coursera, Skillshare. Peer-to-peer learning lowers the barrier for learning new skills and encourages even teenagers to mentor younger kids in learning how to code. A plethora of platforms facilitating collaborative information production and consumption has followed the Wikipedia interaction model: OpenStreetMap, OpenPlaques, Quora, Instructables, WikiVoyage, allowing people from varied backgrounds to get involved in the creation of information and knowledge resources. This chapter aims to examine activities such as Open Education, Open Design, knowledge and data sharing from the perspective of the sharing economy.
Gabriela Avram, Eglantina Hysa

Open Access

Chapter 10. Solidarity and Care Economy in Times of ‘Crisis’: A View from Greece and Hungary Between 2015 and 2020
Abstract
This chapter describes the emergence of solidarity actions in two European countries—Greece and Hungary—in response to two recent crises: the arrival of large numbers of refugees in 2015 and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Focusing on the experiences in two European countries with different socio-political, historical trajectories and civic traditions, we look at how solidarity economy emerged in crisis and how it was framed not only on monetised value but also on care and nurture. Our accounts of Greece and Hungary draw from ethnographic fieldwork and other qualitative social research (interviews and focus groups) with grassroots solidarity collectives.
Penny Travlou, Anikó Bernát

Country-Specific Case Studies

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 11. From a Sharing Economy to a Platform Economy: Public Values in Shared Mobility and Gig Work in the Netherlands
Abstract
This chapter discusses the sharing economy in the Netherlands, focussing on shared mobility and gig work platforms. The Netherlands has been known as one of the pioneers in the sharing economy. Local initiatives emerged at the beginning of the 2010s. International players such as Uber, UberPop, and Airbnb followed soon after. Initially, the sharing economy was greeted with a sense of optimism, as it was thought to contribute to social cohesion and sustainability. Over the last few years, the debate has shifted to the question of how public values can be safeguarded or stimulated. In this regard, shared mobility is hoped to contribute to more sustainable transport. In the gig economy, scholars and labour representatives fear a further flexibilisation of labour; others see opportunities for economic growth.
Martijn de Waal, Martijn Arets

Open Access

Chapter 12. The Sharing Economy in France: A Favourable Ecosystem for Alternative Platforms Models
Abstract
This chapter reflects on the sharing economy in France and what can be considered a favourable ecosystem for alternative platform models. This chapter starts by reviewing a large amount of academic literature, reports, and legislation that have been produced for the last ten years and that has certainly helped businesses, public sector institutions, and local communities to anticipate changes inspired by technology and its uses and to open up their innovation processes. The chapter then focuses on platform cooperatives in three emblematic domains (meal delivery service, carpooling, and energy) that illustrate how France has embraced the criticisms of the sharing economy and its platforms. This chapter finally discussed how some factors could be considered as characteristics of a ‘French touch’ in terms of platform cooperativism.
Myriam Lewkowicz, Jean-Pierre Cahier

Open Access

Chapter 13. A Critical Perspective on the Sharing Economy in Tourism Using Examples of the Accommodation Sector in Austria
Abstract
In recent decades, services on digital platforms have become increasingly important in tourism. What started with concepts of exchange as a non- or less commodified practice of sharing accommodations (e.g., Couchsurfing) became exceedingly commodified in the platform economy on a global scale and turned into successful business models (e.g., Airbnb) with strong effects on traditional provider structures and local labour market. In Austria, the economic relevance of tourism traces back more than 100 years. Today, new forms of overnight stays, such as short-term rentals (STRs), have flooded the traditional tourism industry market with offerings in the accommodation sector and pose particular challenges in the housing market in Austrian cities. The COVID-19 crisis highlights the general volatility in tourism. Therefore, alternative business models seem to be more important than before. Discussing the relevance of hybrid sharing as a business model between market-based services and platform cooperatives in the global platform economy, domestic examples from Austria serve as an incentive for other countries to show new pathways in terms of alternative platform structures and work towards a less volatile economy. In doing so, national insights of regulations of global players and new guidelines of platform-based sharing are debated too.
Malte Höfner, Rainer Rosegger

Open Access

Chapter 14. Unsettled State of Regulation: Italy’s Hard Path Towards Effective Rules for the Sharing Economy
Abstract
Since its heyday, the Italian sharing economy has emblematically displayed the problem of a wanting and largely ineffective regulatory environment. To date, the Italian legislator has been unable to formulate a consistent legal response to the main social and economic challenges stemming from the sharing economy, opting for ad hoc reactive measures, and leaving great uncertainty among all stakeholders. This has been exacerbated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen the slowdown of some sharing economy activities and the rise of new ones. Building on these premises, the chapter offers a snapshot of the current reality of the Italian sharing economy, highlighting the main legal issues emerging from its consolidation, reflecting on the main implications of the COVID-19 crisis within the sector, and drawing meaningful considerations on some policy directions worth considering in the post-pandemic society.
Giulia Priora, Monica Postiglione, Stefano Valerio, Venere Stefania Sanna, Chiara Bassetti

Open Access

Chapter 15. Time Banks in the United Kingdom: An Examination of the Evolution
Abstract
Time banks allow people to exchange and trade their skills; an hour for an hour. Today the United Kingdom (UK) has built a diverse ecosystem around times and skills sharing of both generic (e.g., TimeBanking UK, Communities Together) and specialist skills (e.g., Frontline19). This chapter defines the main characteristics and benefits of time banks. It also provides a typology of platforms that can be found in the UK based on the types of transactions and the types of assets being exchanged. The chapter analyses the evolution of time banks in the UK and how the COVID-19 pandemic has fostered the development of new initiatives. Finally, the chapter also includes a discussion of the attempts to measure the economic and social impact of time banks.
Rodrigo Perez-Vega, Cristina Miguel

Open Access

Chapter 16. The Sharing Economy Business Models in Poland: Aspects of Trust, Law, and Initiatives Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic
Abstract
This chapter presents an analysis of sharing economy development in Poland, not only big businesses such as Uber or Airbnb but also smaller, local initiatives—often in their niches, doing better than global corporations. All kinds of enterprises and institutions are increasingly willing to incorporate elements of shared economics for business practice and organisational culture through stressing cost savings and flexibility. With all the opportunities sharing economy brings, it also creates many unsolved issues, such as regulations, labour law, competition, which often lead to conflicts of different stakeholders. Authors discuss various sharing economy initiatives in Poland as well as social strands, trust, and problems with legally unregulated issues. Furthermore, this chapter also covers different aspects of sharing economy initiatives embedded in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agnieszka Lukasiewicz, Aleksandra Nadolska

Open Access

Chapter 17. Advances of Sharing Economy in Agriculture and Tourism Sectors of Albania
Abstract
The concept of sharing economy arises with the digital economy. However, the awareness of the terms ‘sharing economy’ and ‘collaborative economy’ is still very modest in Albania. With the industry 4.0 revolution, the digitisation process of the economy has become a priority agenda for the government of this country. Although the sharing economy is evidenced in the Albanian market in many industries, this chapter focuses only on the agriculture and tourism sector. This study identifies the development trends of both sectors, their specifications, and their progress tracks of the collaborative/sharing aspects. After an integrated strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis of the sharing economy developments, the study comes up with the quadruple helix collaboration model as a necessity of a collaborative economy supportive to the Albanian market enhancement.
Eglantina Hysa, Alba Demneri Kruja

Conclusions

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 18. The State and Critical Assessment of the Sharing Economy in Europe
Abstract
The chapter is the final one in the volume of collected papers aiming to discuss the sharing economy in Europe. The idea of the book emerged within the research network created by the COST Action CA16121 ‘From Sharing to Caring: Examining Socio-Technical Aspects of the Collaborative Economy.’ The authors of the chapter sum up theoretical and empirical materials as well as country-specific cases provided in the book. The article critically assesses the current status of the sharing economy in European countries by highlighting major controversial issues related to deregulation, market disruption, or social inequality. The authors conclude that, considering the comprehensive and up-to-date materials collected and analysed in the book, it may become an outstanding source of knowledge and a practical tool in the process of expansion of the sharing economy in Europe and beyond.
Vida Česnuitytė, Bori Simonovits, Andrzej Klimczuk, Bálint Balázs, Cristina Miguel, Gabriela Avram
Backmatter
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Metadata
Title
The Sharing Economy in Europe
Editors
Dr. Vida Česnuitytė
Prof. Dr. Andrzej Klimczuk
Dr. Cristina Miguel
Dr. Gabriela Avram
Copyright Year
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-86897-0
Print ISBN
978-3-030-86896-3
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86897-0

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