Research Topic

Sharing Economy and the Issue of (Dis)Trust

About this Research Topic

As a result of the recent economic crisis impact on the population and the increasing environmental awareness among individuals, consumers have been introduced to what is now called the Sharing Economy. It is distinctive of the sharing economy that consumers have rather access to a good than actually owning it.

Consumers started sharing goods such as cars (e.g., Drivey), rooms (e.g., couchsurfing, brief period apartment renting) and self-produced vegetables (e.g., community gardens). This is a new trend that was (partly) driven by the rapid development of technology, namely the Internet and mobile phones apps.

Although “sharing economy” acts as an umbrella term, covering access-based economy, platform economy and community-based economy, technology plays an important role in almost all forms, organizing sharing by fostering exchange and communication within the sharing economy.
While the sharing economy certainly provides benefits for society (e.g., financial benefit), it also has its downsides (e.g., racial discrimination).

Within consumer psychology, trust has been identified as important factor stimulating participation in the sharing economy, meaning that consumers make themselves vulnerable towards different actors in the sharing economy. We distinguish several actors and find trust in the owner of a shared good, trust in intermediating platforms, and trust in other shared goods’ users.

So far, the investigations performed on consumers' trust role towards other users sharing the same good, has gained limited attention. Further, previous consumer psychology research lacks in providing an in-depth analysis of the owner's trust to share goods (e.g., sharing their own apartment via AirBnB).

Besides the lack of research on trust towards the different actors and forms of sharing goods in the digital age, there is also a lack of research on distrust.

Distrust is defined as an individual’s unwillingness to accept vulnerability to the actions of other people based on pervasive negative perceptions and expectations of the other people's motives, intentions, or behaviors.

We believe that distrust is keeping consumers from taking part in the sharing economy. It is therefore important that sharing organizations are aware of what is the cause triggering distrust and what prevents distrust effects in the sharing economy. Research focused on trust and distrust in the sharing economy is essential.

With the current Research Topic, we welcome theoretical and empirical manuscripts addressing this research gap of trust and distrust in the sharing economy.

Manuscripts should address the following issues:

· Multilevel analysis of trust and distrust in the shared economy focusing on multiple actors and different forms

· What is the difference between group (dis)trust and individual (dis)trust? What about (dis)trust in other users of the shared goods?

· Dynamics of trust and distrust in the sharing economy - Is trust stimulating an upward spiral of trust in the sharing economy? Is distrust stimulating a downward spiral in the sharing economy?

· Consequences of trust and distrust in the sharing economy - To which extent are exploitation, discrimination and other negative consequences for consumers a driver for distrust in the sharing economy?

· Moderators between trust and distrust and the participation in the sharing economy - How does the use of technology or the environment create trust or distrust?


Keywords: Sharing, Economy, Trust, Distrust, Technology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As a result of the recent economic crisis impact on the population and the increasing environmental awareness among individuals, consumers have been introduced to what is now called the Sharing Economy. It is distinctive of the sharing economy that consumers have rather access to a good than actually owning it.

Consumers started sharing goods such as cars (e.g., Drivey), rooms (e.g., couchsurfing, brief period apartment renting) and self-produced vegetables (e.g., community gardens). This is a new trend that was (partly) driven by the rapid development of technology, namely the Internet and mobile phones apps.

Although “sharing economy” acts as an umbrella term, covering access-based economy, platform economy and community-based economy, technology plays an important role in almost all forms, organizing sharing by fostering exchange and communication within the sharing economy.
While the sharing economy certainly provides benefits for society (e.g., financial benefit), it also has its downsides (e.g., racial discrimination).

Within consumer psychology, trust has been identified as important factor stimulating participation in the sharing economy, meaning that consumers make themselves vulnerable towards different actors in the sharing economy. We distinguish several actors and find trust in the owner of a shared good, trust in intermediating platforms, and trust in other shared goods’ users.

So far, the investigations performed on consumers' trust role towards other users sharing the same good, has gained limited attention. Further, previous consumer psychology research lacks in providing an in-depth analysis of the owner's trust to share goods (e.g., sharing their own apartment via AirBnB).

Besides the lack of research on trust towards the different actors and forms of sharing goods in the digital age, there is also a lack of research on distrust.

Distrust is defined as an individual’s unwillingness to accept vulnerability to the actions of other people based on pervasive negative perceptions and expectations of the other people's motives, intentions, or behaviors.

We believe that distrust is keeping consumers from taking part in the sharing economy. It is therefore important that sharing organizations are aware of what is the cause triggering distrust and what prevents distrust effects in the sharing economy. Research focused on trust and distrust in the sharing economy is essential.

With the current Research Topic, we welcome theoretical and empirical manuscripts addressing this research gap of trust and distrust in the sharing economy.

Manuscripts should address the following issues:

· Multilevel analysis of trust and distrust in the shared economy focusing on multiple actors and different forms

· What is the difference between group (dis)trust and individual (dis)trust? What about (dis)trust in other users of the shared goods?

· Dynamics of trust and distrust in the sharing economy - Is trust stimulating an upward spiral of trust in the sharing economy? Is distrust stimulating a downward spiral in the sharing economy?

· Consequences of trust and distrust in the sharing economy - To which extent are exploitation, discrimination and other negative consequences for consumers a driver for distrust in the sharing economy?

· Moderators between trust and distrust and the participation in the sharing economy - How does the use of technology or the environment create trust or distrust?


Keywords: Sharing, Economy, Trust, Distrust, Technology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

06 January 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

06 January 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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