Iceland, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montenegro, Malta and New Zealand lead the Shared Economy Index
Bulgaria ranked 63rd in the world of a total of 213 countries and territories in a new Index of the Shared Economy, developed and presented for the first time by the Swedish think-tank Timbro. The ranking in Bulgaria was presented by the Institute for Market Economics, which is a partner in the project.
Previous analyzes of the size of the shared economy are based on inquiries or field studies. For the Shared Economy Index of Timbro, the researchers gathered the monthly traffic data for 286 services in 213 countries. A complete counting of the active providers was also carried out for 21 of the 286 services, including Airbnb, using programs for authomatical data collection on internet – the so-called scraping programs.
“ “The Shared Economy Index” of Timbro is the first global index of the shared economy, based on the use of data on traffic volume and information retrieval from the sites of various services, and gives a new idea of the driving factors behind peer- to-peer economy (an economy based on direct buyer and seller transactions), ” says the chief researcher Alexander Funke, Ph.D. in science in the University of Pennsylvania.
Iceland, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montenegro, Malta and New Zealand lead the list with the highest indices, the survey shows. Bulgaria ranks 63th, which is the golden mean among the EU countries. Germany (77), Romania (115), the Czech Republic (132) and Slovakia (177), the lowest in the index among the EU countries ranks Germany.
The shared economy is bigger in countries where more people have access to a high-speed internet, but it is not regulation-dependent, as it was thought by the moment, is one of the findings of the study. The same economic indicators of freedom that favor the development of the traditional economy, are also important for the size of the shared economy, the report said.
In general, countries with developed internet infrastructure and a significant tourism sector have large shared economies is the main conclusion of researchers. The leader Iceland, for example, in the course of recovering from the economic crisis has developed greatly its tourism. “The shared economy has grown rapidly to meet demand, in a way that we can hardly imagine a traditional tourism industry could do,” said the chief researcher Funke.
According to the researchers there is no connection between the size of the shared economy and the various indicators of trust in society. This observation disproves the notion that a shared economy, unlike the traditional economy as a whole, relies on established interpersonal relationships and trust.
The largest company in the dataset is Airbnb, with almost 1.5 million suppliers active on average in a week. Of the 286 companies analyzed in the survey, one-third offer housing, and half fall into the broad category of business services.
An important warning about the index is that it usually underestimates services based on specific mobile applications. This affects mostly the shared travel services. Services such as Uber and Lyft do not affect the ranking to the extent that is expected. This could explain why, for example, a country like Denmark ranks surprisingly high on the list, although they banned shared travel services.
The relations between the shared economy and the free markets can be made using the Fraser’s Institute Economic Freedom Index. It consists of five components, each of which measures a specific aspect of the economic freedom. These components include the size of the government, the judiciary and property rights, access to secure and stable money, the freedom of international trade and the regulation of credits, labor and business. In addition, other factors included in Timbro’s analysis are the average number of years in school, the level of globalization (on the Globalization Index of the KOF), the share of the population under 40, the share of the population with access to broadband internet, the GDP per capita of the population, trust in society, etc.
The data clearly shows that the use of services from the shared economy is higher in economically free countries. Standard linear regression confirms the dependence between economic freedom and the use of services from the shared economy. An interesting result is that shared-economy services are used less in richer countries (with a higher GDP per capita) if all other factors do not change.
A possible interpretation of this dependency is that shared economy services provide cheap alternatives to similar products or services provided by ordinary businesses, with education and demographics not seeming to be much influenced.
Compared to the five factors of the Economic Freedom Index, data shows that the use of services from the shared economy increases with an increase in each of the indicators of economic freedom, apart from the size of the government. With the increase in government and services from the shared economy, they are also growing. The data clearly shows that a shared economy is not a major way to avoid taxation and regulation, but rather something that benefits from high levels of regulation.
The full report in English can be found in the link!