Dr. Yair Friedman and Dr. Zafrir Bloch at the 5th IWSE

Dr. Yair Friedman (Tel Aviv University and WEconomize) and Dr. Zafrir Bloch-David (The Tel Aviv - Jaffa Academic College and WEconomize) will present two highly linked research projects, centered around the Sharing Economy's ability to promote social and geographic peripheries (in Israel and in general).

"Sharing Economy Diffusion among the Peripheral Society in Israel" (joint work with Avi Shnider)

Abstract: Despite increasing attention from scholars, only a handful of studies have investigated the sharing economy's influence on underprivileged populations and peripheral societies. In this study, we investigate the potential influence of sharing economy platforms on the employment and engagement of such populations by examining seven platforms from diverse industries (six for-profit platforms from industries such as hospitality, parking, crowdfunding, P2P delivery and transportation - and one social, non-profit, platform) with a total of 113,000 users / prosumers (producing consumers) in Israel.

Through in-depth interviews and questioners filled by platform executives, we investigate to what degree were underprivileged populations and peripheral societies participating in value creation on these platforms, as it seems that these populations have much to gain from such inclusion.

Our study indicates that underprivileged populations and peripheral societies in Israel are hardly active on sharing economy platforms, despite clear acknowledgment that such activities may produce substantial gains. In contrast, average platform users were typically highly educated males, who live in Israel's large metropolitan areas, and are between the ages of 30 and 50. Thus, based on these findings, it seems that the sharing economy exhibits similar patterns to those in other areas of the Israeli labor market. Lastly, we explain why platforms are normally reluctant to engage underprivileged populations and peripheral societies and try to provide estimations as to what can be done to increase the number of participants from social, as well as geographic, peripheries.

"Friend or foe? Does Airbnb compete with or complement the hoteling industry? A Survey and Investigation in Israel"

Abstract: Airbnb is probably the most visible and well-known sharing economy platform worldwide. Since its introduction to the Israeli market in 2011, it has experienced exponential growth with well over 500,000 people renting out airbnb apartments in Israel in 2017, the equivalent of over 2,000,000 nights. Airbnb has been praised for creating new opportunities to generate income for homeowners and renters in Israel – saving money for travelers whilst putting the under-utilized assets of people’s homes to work. At the same time, we have witnessed an increasing criticism of Airbnb including arguments about disrupting the real estate and hoteling industries, impairing neighborhood dynamics, and indulging tax evasion. In addition, claims have been raised about platform safety, trust and user discrimination.

However, despite these influences, our knowledge and understanding of this platform has been slow to accumulate. More specifically, while we can discuss generic influences of this platform, such as its impact on the hoteling industry, we need to contextualize research efforts in different markets. Our study offers a first attempt to examine this platform in the Israeli market and helps identify how its influence unfolds while considering the unique conditions and characteristics of this setting.

This current research takes a unique and innovative approach, examining Airbnb as a complementary element, substituting for market deficiencies and inefficiencies, where applicable. We raise the question where and when does airbnb act more as a complementing force in the market. Israel is an interesting case in this perspective since the Israeli hoteling market demonstrates a clear lack of medium- and low-cost hotels and motels (a market sector highly evident in most large metropolitan areas while absent in Israel). We examine whether or not Airbnb fills in to match the demand for the lower-levels accommodation products, whereas in smaller, peripheral, less-attractive cities, we examine the platform's ability to fill in as a substitute for hotels, which are often absent due to the lack of sufficient demand in such settings.

Zervas, G., Proserpio, D. & Byers, J. (2017). The Rise of the Sharing Economy: Estimating the Impact of Airbnb on the Hotel Industry. Journal of Marketing Research, 54 (5), pp. 687-705

Fraiberger, S. & Sundararajan, A. (2015). Peer-to-Peer Rental Markets in the Sharing Economy. SSRN Electronic Journal. 10.2139/ssrn.2574337.