The Influence of Sharing Economy for Sustainability

Published: 2021-08-10 23:25:07
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Abstract
With the development of economy, the sharing economy, an emerging economic model, has drawn increasing attention of both the public and government. In order to explore the influence of the sharing economy for sustainability, the survey via questionnaires were conducted in April, 2018 among professors about their attitudes and opinions towards sharing economy and social, economic and environmental sustainability. The 250 questionnaires have been answered, but only 246 are valid. According to the results of the survey, the sharing economy promotes human development, lets cost-saving and optimizes resources allocation, decreases emission and saves energy. Their worries are mainly due to imperfect operation and management mode of sharing economy and think sharing economy will case a waste of resources. In the future, the sharing economy should strive to improve the management mode and give full play to its positive role in sustainability.
Key words: sharing economy; sustainability; questionnaires; social sustainability; economic sustainability; environmental sustainability;
Introduction
There is rapidly growing interest in the nature and impacts of the sharing economy amongst entrepreneurs, innovators, incumbent businesses, policy-makers, media commenters and academic researchers alike (chris,2015). In 2011, Times listed the sharing economy as one of the top ten ideas that will change the world. In the academia, sharing economy also caused a heated (Wu 2016, Zhi 2016). As the term of Sustainable Development was put forward by World Commission on Environment and Development in the report named Our Common Future (Brundtland, 1987), it attracted attention wildly. There are three types of sustainability, namely, social sustainability, economic sustainability and environmental sustainability (Wu 2016? Zhi 2016). In this paper, I will discuss what impact will the sharing economy takes to sustainability, included social, economic and environmental. From the perspective of social sustainability, scholars concluded that sharing economy will promote human development (Hancock, 2001), safety and effectiveness (Feeney et al., 2015; Lee et al., 2008) as well as offering more jobs (Fang et al., 2015) while others suggested that regulations are necessary to confront with potential problems (Harding et al., 2015; Schechner, 2016; Sun, 2015). From the perspective of economic sustainability, scholars deemed that although being cost-saving (Shaheen et al., 2007; Bonsall, 1981; Porter et al., 2011; Zhao J, 2015), shared economy may face problems like monopoly and collusion (Matzler et al., 2015; Qiang et al., 2016; Zervas, 2015). From the perspective of environmental sustainability, studies show that sharing economy will benefit environment by optimizing resources allocation (Hamari et al., 2015), decreasing emission and saving energy (Kriston et al., 2010; Belk, 2014; Martin et al., 2011; Jeremy Rifkin, 2015; Leismann et al., 2013) while also releasing pressure in other ways due to its easy accessibility (Schor, 2014; Yuliya Voytenko et al., 2015).
Materials and Methods
Participants
A standard questionnaire was mailed to a randomly sample of 250 persons in April, 2018, which was responded by 241 (96.4%). Among the 250 respondents, all of them are professors and 156(64.7%) are male and female 35.3%. All of them are 40 to 70 years and have profound knowledge, so the results are credible.
Procedure
Questionnaires designed for anonymous response comprised of 9 questions. These questions can be divided into five parts with regard to their purposes:
Q1 and Q2 gauged the common knowledge about sharing economy and sustainability and both of them are closed questions. The answer included four grades from high to low, which are know a lot, general understanding, know a little and never know. Q3 and Q4 want to learn the situation of the sharing economy around people so bicycle sharing, the most common case of sharing economy, is as the object of investigation. Both of them also are closed questions and their answer is also four grades for respondents to choose. Q5, Q6 and Q7 are open questions and they were designed to investigate the experts the influence of sharing economy for social, economic and environmental sustainability. I asked that the answers of Q5, Q6 and Q7 can not be less than twenty words. Q8 is a separate questions and it is also an open question. The purpose was to find out the disadvantages of sharing economy. Q8 and Q7 are similar but the purpose of Q8 was attempt to ascertain which sustainability is conducive to the sharing economy.
Results
Table 1 shows that there are more people in the last options of Q1 (63.8%) and more people in the first options of Q2 (66.7%), so people know more clearly sharing economy than sustainability.
Table 2 shows that although most people (96.7%) use sharing cycle, the future of sharing economy is contentious. This means the sharing economy still has problem unsolved so someone isn’t satisfied with it.
Table 1
QuestionKnow a lotGeneral understandingKnow a littleNever know
Knowledge of sustainability(Q1)53(21.5%)36(14.6%)75(30.5%)82(33.3%)
Knowledge of sharing economy(Q2)79(32.1%)85(34.6%)33(13.4%)49(19.9%)
Table 2
Question Everyday Often Sometimes Never
Usage of sharing bicycle(Q3)37(15.0%)92(37.4%)109(44.3%)8(3.3%)
Optimistic Neutral Controversial Negative
Future of sharing bicycle(Q4)84(34.1%)56(22.8%)67(27.2%)39(15.9%)
According to table 3 ,sharing economy promotes social sustainable development in many ways. From the perspective of entrepreneurship, Schaltegger et al. stressed that shared economy does not only devote to the sustainability of itself but also to social sustainability (2011). Martin et al. (2011) and Bin Fang et al. Q6 shows sharing economy is believed as sustainable consumption (Albinsson et al., 2012; Gansky,2010), which is beneficial to decreasing the search cost and transaction cost (Nadler, 2014). Q8 shows that Sharing economy is expected to be highly ecologically sustainable (Prothero et al., 2011; Sacks, 2011) and highlights the resource-saving potentials of shared economy.
Table 3
Question
The influence of sharing economy for social sustainability(Q5)Sharing economy will promote human development, safety and effectiveness as well as offering more jobs while others suggested that regulations are necessary to confront with potential problems
The influence of sharing economy for economic sustainability(Q6)Although being cost-saving, shared economy may face problems like monopoly and collusion
The influence of sharing economy for environmental sustainability(Q7)Sharing economy will benefit environment by optimizing resources allocation, decreasing emission and saving energy while also releasing pressure in other ways due to its easy accessibility
Table 4 shows problems remained to be settled down within regulations, included economic problems and environmental problems. From the table 5, we can learn that environmental sustainability is conducive to the sharing economy.
Table 4
Question
Disadvantages of sharing economy(Q8)Sharing economy may face problems like monopoly and collusion
Table 5
Question Social sustainabilityEconomic sustainabilityEnvironmental sustainability
Which sustainability is conducive to the sharing economy(Q9)75(30.5%)62(25.2%)109(44.3%)
Discussion
The purpose of this paper is to find out the relation of sharing economy and sustainability and what is the impact of sharing economy on sustainability. This paper discussed the influence of sharing economy on sustainability. From the perspective of social aspect, positive influences included improving employment, safety and effectiveness while problems remained to be settled down within regulations. From the perspective of economic aspect, sharing economy is cost-saving and innovative for yielding economic benefits while confronting with the issues like instability on supply and demand sides, collusion and monopoly. From the perspective of environmental sustainability, sharing economy helps allocate resources and decreases the emission of green-house gases. Considering the availability, it may cause more frequent uses, which is negative to the environment.
Overall, there are three suggestions, Firstly, as presented above, sharing economy influences sustainability both optimistically and pessimistically. Therefore an effective design for regulation is needed. Secondly, future research is supposed to fill the gap of international-compared as well as empirical work in terms of the impact of shared economy on sustainability. Thirdly, in the banking sector, we should give preferential treatment to sharing economy entrepreneurs, such as tax and loan. The government can promote the development of sharing economy artificially.
Reference
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