The importance of trust in the sharing economy
The collaborative economy covers a variety of sectors and is rapidly emerging across Europe. Adding hundreds of billions of euro to the EU economy, it offers more choices to consumers and new opportunities to entrepreneurs. However, little is known about the bottom-up psychological factors driving the collaborative economy users’ behavior. For responsible sharing, trust is necessary but not sufficient. The EU-funded TRUSTPATH project will develop and test a psychological theory of how people use the collaborative economy. The hypothesis is that trust encouraged without transparency can lead users to neglect the negative side effects trade has on others. The findings will advance our understanding of the psychology of the collaborative economy and inform policymakers seeking to regulate it. The results will also be useful for companies seeking to promote responsible sharing among users.