This article by Böcker and Meelen attempts to explain why people engage with the sharing economy, by looking at economic, social and environmental motivations of individuals in Amsterdam. It reveals that motivations differ based on sector, while differences between socio-demographic groups are less evident. The study also finds that users who were accessing the goods and services tended to be more motivated by money than those actually providing the goods. The research examined user motivations across five sectors; car, ride, accommodation, tool and meal sharing.

Study highlights and key findings:

  • Individuals that simply access goods are not necessarily motivated by social and sustainability issues and economic gain is potentially still most important for those that access goods and services.
  • Older people may be more likely to participate for social reason instead of economic reasons despite levels of income. Individuals seem more likely to share lower cost items (tools and meals).
  • When sharing expensive assets (like accommodation) motivations tend to be mostly economic, although social motivations are more important for ride sharing.
  • The distinctions that are made between what is considered real sharing and economic sharing masks overlaps and is actually in some ways difficult to distinguish.