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Rense Corten

While it is widely acknowledged that trust plays an important role in the sharing economy, it is often confused with other strategic considerations related to cooperation in sharing economy interactions. In this chapter the author proposes that social dilemma research, rooted in game theory, offers a rich and flexible theoretical framework for studying sharing economy interactions. The author sketches applicable models that may involve trust as an important feature of many sharing economy interactions but also highlights other strategic considerations that superficially look similar to trust problems but may be understood more fruitfully by alternative models. More specifically, the author discusses various types of two-person dilemmas such as the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Trust Game, but also N-person dilemmas, including common pool problems, exchange systems, and club goods. Solutions to the cooperation problems implied by these dilemmas are also discussed. The chapter concludes by sketching some promising directions for future research.