Summary of Barriers to Growth in the "Sharing Economy"

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Barriers to Growth in the
Sellers in the “peer economy” face a unique set of financial, regulatory and expertise barriers.


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Popular online peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb and Etsy allow users to generate income from their personal assets, skills and creativity. However, earning a wage using such platforms comes with its own problems. MIT researcher Denise Cheng provides an overview of the “peer economy” and discusses the advantages and barriers it poses. She suggests changes that the government and the platforms could implement to create a conducive business environment. getAbstract recommends her conclusions to policymakers, platform owners and independent contractors.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What the “peer economy” looks like
  • Which financial, regulatory and expertise barriers could make peer-economy platforms less enticing for service and asset providers
  • Which platform, legal and regulatory changes could prevent current and potential providers from losing faith in the peer economy


In the “peer economy,” digital-platform owners arrange information exchange and transactions between providers and buyers, all for a transaction fee. For providers, the peer economy is a source of alternative income. It gives them the flexibility to choose their preferred work location and hours.
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About the Author

Denise Cheng, an MIT researcher, has a background in community building, the future of news, and the workforce in the peer economy – specifically, support around the growing pool of workers who depend on piecemeal income.

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