Summary of How Much Is the Sharing Economy Worth to GDP?

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In this intriguing, albeit one-sided, web article from the World Economic Forum, project specialists Stefan Hall and James Pennington contemplate the virtues of the sharing economy that boost economic growth but that GDP fails to measure. What the authors don’t do is delve into the negative aspects of the sharing economy that could detract from GDP. For instance, many Uber drivers would prefer the benefits of formal employment, and horror stories abound of people’s experiences renting rooms to strangers through Airbnb. Still, this overview provides a takeoff point in trying to value this new economic engine. getAbstract recommends it to executives, policy makers and others interested in the sharing economy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the sharing economy works,
  • How conventional GDP measures fall short of fully capturing the value of the sharing economy and
  • What sorts of benefits people get from the sharing economy.

About the Authors

Stefan Hall and James Pennington are project specialists with the World Economic Forum.



The term “sharing economy” refers to the use of online avenues to facilitate the sharing of a person’s assets, such as a car or a room in a home, with others “for free or for a fee, on a peer-to-peer basis.” The online platform acting as the middleman between the two parties usually sets the fee, as with car-sharing services. Alternatively, individual suppliers might name their price, as when they rent rooms.

Measures of gross domestic product count the income derived from the sharing arrangements, ...

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