Handbook of the Sharing Economy
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Handbook of the Sharing Economy

Edited by Russell W. Belk, Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi

With the radical growth in the ubiquity of digital platforms, the sharing economy is here to stay. This Handbook explores the nature and direction of the sharing economy, interrogating its key dynamics and evolution over the past decade and critiquing its effect on society.
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Chapter 22: Social dilemmas in the sharing economy

Rense Corten

Abstract

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.

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