Psychological Science for a Responsible Sharing Economy

Abstract

The sharing economy is fueled by trust, which allows strangers to cooperate. To share responsibly, one needs to be aware of the various consequences sharing has on interacting and third parties. When transparency about such consequences is lacking, mutual trust among interacting parties may encourage people to cooperate and share, in turn creating unintended negative impact. Psychologists have long studied trust and cooperation, yet few insights from psychological science have been used to understand the sharing economy. Here, we propose that evoking trust may paradoxically increase motivated information processing leading people to share irresponsibly by ignoring the negative consequences sharing has on others. We review three conditions under which evoking trust may lead to irresponsible sharing: ethical blind spots, willful ignorance, and misinformation. We propose that transparent information is key to enable and encourage responsible sharing. More psychological research is needed to better understand how this flourishing, trust-based industry can be shaped to encourage safe, cooperative, and responsible sharing.

Publication
Current Opinion in Psychology
Shaul Shalvi
Shaul Shalvi
Professor of Behavioral Ethics

My research interests include fairness, equality, values and norms.

Jantsje Mol
Jantsje Mol
Postdoctoral researcher

My research interests include experimental economics, behavioral economics and virtual reality.

Catherine Molho
Catherine Molho
Postdoctoral researcher

My research interests include experimental economics, behavioral economics and virtual reality.

Linh Vu
Linh Vu
PhD candidate

I am interested in decision making and behavioral ethics.

Margarita Leib
Margarita Leib
Postdoctoral researcher

I am interested in decision making and behavioral ethics.

Ivan Soraperra
Ivan Soraperra
Postdoctoral researcher

My research interests include experimental and behavioral economics, with a focus on unethical behavior and cheating, experimental methods, and econometric analysis of experimental data.

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