Formal and Informal Institutions’ Changes in the Sharing Economy Development

Katarzyna Bentkowska
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIV, Special Issue 1, 362-375, 2021
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/2047


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify changes in formal and informal institutions that influence the sharing economy development. Design/methodology/approach: An approach to the analysis of sharing economy based on institutional economics has been proposed. It considers both formal and informal institutions vital for the sharing economy’s development. However, it focuses on the latter as the nature, role and design of informal institutions remain undiscovered while for sharing economy they seem crucial. Findings: Based on the findings it can be argued that informal institutions are of great importance for the sharing economy development. Despite the often-stressed role of regulations, it becomes clear that in this case, informal institutions may evolve more quickly and fill the gaps left by formal norms. It is of great importance than to support trust growth between the users and strengthen the evolution of property’s perception – from owning to sharing. Practical implications: The results may be useful for the sharing platforms as they stress the importance of their regulations and role in building trust between the users and providers of goods or services. They may contribute to a better design of the platforms and further development. The findings are important also for the users as they need an encouraging environment to operate effectively. Originality/value: The research is original because of the adopted perspective – rarely is the institutional economics base for sharing economy analysis, still, it offers important insights. The analysis indicates important changes in institutions connected with sharing economy and points which of them are crucial for its further development. Moreover, it stresses the role of informal institutions which despite growing importance are often excluded from the analysis.

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