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Andrius Plepys and Jagdeep Singh

Chapter 5, ‘Evaluating the sustainability impacts of the sharing economy using input-output analysis’ by Andrius Plepys and Jagdeep Singh presents key challenges associated with a systematic sustainability evaluation of access-based consumption models. Starting with a causal loop diagram representing various reported and potential impacts of a generic sharing system, the authors provide a comprehensive picture of main direct and indirect social, economic and environmental implications of the sharing economy. They also discuss the limitations in sustainability evaluations of the sharing economy, including non-transparency about methods as well as unclear system boundaries and assumptions made. An overview of the strengths and weaknesses of different modelling approaches employed for analysing the effects of sharing economy is provided. Car sharing is used as an example for demonstrating an input-output-based sustainability assessment. Implications for modelling impacts from changes in consumption patterns and from changes in production sectors are discussed. Future research directions include suggestions for improving the existing national accounting frameworks to accommodate the specifics of the emerging sharing economy, better measurements of labour inputs and annual income in the sharing economy and improving resolution and geographical and sectoral coverage of the multiregional input–output tables.