Sharing Economy Index

Vilnius iškovojo pirmąją vietą ir tapo draugiškiausiu miestu pasaulyje

Šiandien „Consumer Choice Center” paskelbtame jau ketvirtąjame „Dalijimosi ekonomikos indekse” buvo įvertinti šešiasdešimt pasaulio miestų, kuriuose žmonėms patogiausia naudotis pavežėjimo, dalijimosi automobiliais, tarpusavio skolinimo, paspirtukų nuomos ir kitomis platformomis. Šiais metais pirmą vietą indekse užima Vilnius, už jo rikiuojasi Buenos Airės (Argentina), Madridas (Ispanija), Belgradas (Serbija) ir Londonas (Jungtinė Karalystė).

Įvertinus miestų suteikiamas galimybes naudotis dalijimosi ekonomikos platformomis (tiek teisine, tiek prieinamumo prasme), Vilnius surinko daugiausiai balų – 155 iš 160, teigiama spaudos pranešime. Maksimalaus balų skaičiaus Vilnius nesurinko tik dėl vieno – specialaus mokesčio dalijimosi būstais platformoms. 

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Sharing economy: we need to rethink work

The Consumer Choice Center has launched a new and improved version of its Sharing Economy Index, ranking 60 cities around the world by their openness to innovation in the sector.

The index is primarily a guide for consumers, pointing them toward the most (and least) innovation-friendly cities. This way, they can take advantage of the best the sharing economy has to offer.

At the same time, it teaches regulators an important lesson about the sharing economy. The sector is a 21st-century marvel, from the way the company is set up to workers’ personal schedules. By contrast, efforts to impose one-size-fits-all legislation on the industry are stuck in the past and will only leave everyone worse off.

For centuries now, the usual workplace was organized around a clear hierarchy, where some completed a set number of known chores and others watched over them to make sure the job got done.

The traditional factory, with its manual laborers and overseers, fits the same description. As tasks in the economy multiplied and the world became richer, factories often gave way to offices and worker overalls became shirts and ties. The underlying structure of the workplace, nonetheless, remained the same.

The sharing economy blows this old model out of the water. Gone is the hierarchy of the factory assembly line or office arrangement, replaced by a network designed to match independent buyers and sellers in ways that benefit both parties. Companies like Airbnb, Uber, and Fiverr are platforms for private individuals to supply goods or services to those in need, with no controlling manager or bureaucratic system getting in the way of exchanges.

Such decentralization doesn’t stop at the structure that companies take. It extends all the way to the everyday tasks of those working in the gig economy. As noted in the Consumer Choice Center’s report, around 79% of independent laborers in the US and 80% of those in the EU cited the ability to produce their own schedule as the primary reason why they chose the position in the first place.

Thanks to its open-ended nature, the sharing economy is able to bounce back from serious challenges. If one part of the network is disrupted, another can take its place, with the larger web always surviving. For instance, Uber has been able to remain active in Ukraine during the Russian invasion, having to move 60 tons of supplies from Romania into Ukraine.

Regulators do not share the same positive picture of the gig industry. Instead, they want workers to enjoy the legal protection and benefits of being a regular salaried worker in a standard company. The same policymakers believe an employee must be able to demand unionization, healthcare benefits, or compensation for negligence and that platform owners should be forced to comply with these demands.

Were regulators to have their way with the sharing economy, however, decentralization would be no more. Suggested legislation marks the return to the old model of factory and office. The US Protecting the Right to Organize Act and the European Commission’s 2021 platform work proposal relegates gig workers to the status of permanent employees and standard managers based on a number of familiar criteria: work and safety, collective bargaining, and a required number of working hours per week.

The consequences would be awful all around. Far from legal certainty, some gig workers would be left jobless altogether, as they are unable to work on a 9 to 5 schedule. This hits vulnerable groups the hardest since they are most reliant on flexible work environments.

Consumers will suffer too. With more and more regulations, services become costlier and harder to acquire. Once layoffs intensify and companies go bankrupt, the goods and services that customers have grown to rely on may not be available anymore.

It’s advisable for policymakers to look toward the future rather than the past. Recognize and foster the strengths of the sharing economy by getting out of the way and letting workers, consumers, and the firms themselves decide the fate of the sharing economy.

Originally published here

Economía colaborativa y tres ciudades de la región

El Consumer Choice Center ha presentado su tercer índice anual de economía colaborativa, en el que clasifica algunas de las ciudades más dinámicas del mundo en función de su apertura a la economía colaborativa.

Este índice único en el mundo es la herramienta para que los consumidores tomen decisiones informadas sobre su próximo destino urbano.

El índice clasifica 60 ciudades de todo el mundo, 6 de ellas de América Latina. Las dos ciudades con mejor puntuación en el Índice de Economía Colaborativa de América Latina de 2021 (otro índice del Consumer Choice Center) fueron Bogotá y Santiago de Chile. Sin embargo, en la escena internacional, las dos ciudades tienen problemas para competir con destinos mundiales más abiertos (y por tanto más atractivos), por lo que han terminado en la mitad inferior del índice.

Por otra parte, tres ciudades latinoamericanas -São Paulo, Buenos Aires y Ciudad de México- figuran en el TOP 10 mundial de las ciudades más favorables a la economía colaborativa. Estas ciudades demuestran una extraordinaria apertura a todos los servicios de economía colaborativa considerados en el estudio. En particular, todas ellas ofrecen aplicaciones de entrega ultrarrápida, una categoría totalmente nueva añadida al índice de este año.

“Para sacar el máximo partido al índice, puedes utilizarlo como un menú de opciones que te ayude a elegir la ciudad que mejor se adapte a tu estilo de vida. Si te gusta el transporte compacto y respetuoso con el medio ambiente, en nuestro índice puedes ver que los patinetes eléctricos ya no se pueden alquilar en la capital de Colombia, pero que sí puedes disfrutar de ellos en las concurridas calles de Ciudad de México”, señala Anna Arunashvili, Knowledge Management Associate del Consumer Choice Center.

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Economías colaborativas: Buenos Aires quedó 9° en un ranking de 44 ciudades de América Latina

El estudio evalúa la disponibilidad de una serie de servicios de movilidad, transporte, alojamiento y actividad física a través de plataformas digitales que conectan a consumidores y prestadores.

En los últimos años, la tecnología ha presentado un sinfín de nuevas alternativas en productos y servicios que han permitido a las personas elegir y modificar sus hábitos de consumo, de acuerdo a sus necesidades diarias. La pandemia del Coronavirus produjo el desembarco de más herramientas, pero fundamentalmente ha acelerado procesos de adopción por parte de los consumidores.

De acuerdo a relevamientos realizados por PwC relacionados a diferentes estudios y encuestas sobre la temática a nivel global, el valor de la industria de la economía colaborativa llegaría a los u$s335.000 millones para 2025, compartiendo un 50% del mercado con el modelo tradicional.La investigación establece que los consumidores consideran que esta nueva manera de hacer negocios ayuda a reducir los costos de consumos diarios, implica mayor eficiencia, reduce la contaminación, genera mayor comodidad a la hora de comprar y construye una comunidad más fuerte, que basa su éxito en la confianza entre oferentes y demandantes.

Buenos Aires quedó ubicada en el noveno puesto del Índice de Economía Colaborativa Latam 2021, un relevamiento que analiza 44 ciudades de Latinoamérica y evalúa la disponibilidad de una serie de servicios de movilidad, transporte, alojamiento y actividad física a través de plataformas digitales que conectan a consumidores y prestadores. El estudio, realizado en conjunto por la red Somos Innovación, Relial y el Consumer Choice Center, también tiene en cuenta la accesibilidad que presentan dichas plataformas, en términos de requisitos, para quienes buscan ofrecer o consumir servicios a través de ellas.

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Sharing Economy Index and its results – SHARING ECONOMY SERIES, PART 4

Welcome to the CCC’s sharing economy series. In this series of short blog posts, I elaborate on what the sharing economy is, present the main findings of the Sharing Economy Index, and look at potential future regulations surrounding these services. 

The Consumer Choice Center recently published the Global Sharing Economy Index 2021, which evaluates 50 cities around the world based on the availability and accessibility of sharing economy services. The index is a one-of-its-kind compilation of applications you can use to improve your city experience and analyses how regulated these services are in each city (whether you need a special permit to operate an Airbnb business or if there are additional taxes levied on the guests).

In the early years of Uber, to become a driver you only needed a car, driving license, and simple registration on their website. As driving Uber did not require special permits or taxi licensing, which can be quite expensive to acquire in certain countries, it allowed Uber to offer the same services at a much lower cost. 

However, according to the index results, as of today, out of 50 cities, there are only a few ones left that don’t require a special permit. In France for example, in order to operate Uber, you have to get a VTC card first (VTC is a French acronym for private chauffeur services that are different from taxis), and registration for the exam will cost you around 200 euros. Becoming an Uber driver might be more complicated now, but it remains a lucrative business and a big competition to traditional taxi services. Which, as we already saw in the previous blog post, isn’t something that taxi drivers are very happy about.

Another shared service discussed in the index, e-scooter, is an affordable and quite fun means of transportation, available in 43 out of 50 cities. Recently, most cities have been trying to regulate e-scooters by banning them from sidewalks, setting speed limits, or introducing a fine system for parking at the wrong locations, as in the case of Norway. Some cities, like Athens, went as far as permanently banning e-scooters altogether, only allowing private ownership of electric scooters.

Interestingly enough, Eastern European countries enjoy more freedom when it comes to sharing economy services. First place in the ranking was shared by post-soviet cities Tallinn and Tbilisi, where not only all the discussed services are available, but they are also less regulated. On the other hand, Western and Central European countries seem to have taken more restrictive approaches, therefore limiting consumer choice. For example, as if covid wasn’t already destructive enough to sharing economy services, Amsterdam decided to ban Airbnb in its historical centre, a decision that was fortunately overturned by the court.

Even in the light of current efforts from governments to regulate this sector, we can say that the sharing economy is here to stay. People have come to appreciate and get used to the comfort and convenience these services bring to our everyday lives. So no matter what new restrictions the governments around the world come up with, we can leave it to the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of this industry to fight back and readjust.

Ирпень выше Одессы. Forbes назвал украинские города, где легче всего вести бизнес

Киев занял первое место в рейтинге украинских городов по легкости ведения бизнеса в 2021 году, составленному forbes.ua. Рейтинг опубликованна сайте издания.  

Общий показатель Киева составил 701 пункт и столица набрала наибольшее количество баллов среди других городов в категориях “Деловая активность”, “Покупательная способность” и “Транспортное сообщение”. В прошлогоднем рейтинге Киев занимал четвертое место.  

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Sharing economy under threat – Sharing Economy Series, part 3

Welcome to the CCC’s sharing economy series. In this series of short blog posts, I elaborate on what the sharing economy is, present the main findings of the Sharing Economy Index, and look at potential future regulations surrounding these services. 

The pandemic isn’t the only obstacle sharing economy platforms have had to face for the past several months. Governments around the world have introduced new regulations that have been detrimental to consumer choice. Compared to the time when the platform economy was only starting its way into our daily lives, ride-hailing apps today are subject to many more restrictions. Some of these new interventions include employee classifications, social security, parking requirements, or outright bans. 

One of the main aspects of ride-sharing that governments are trying to redefine and regulate is the relationship between service providers and drivers. Uber and other platforms treat drivers as contractors, rather than employees, but to some such an approach is unfair.

Drivers’ inability to set fares, penalties for cancelling rides, and customer engagement restrictions are among the main reasons why drivers can be seen as less independent than believed. However, on the other hand, contractor status gives drivers more flexibility and the chance to choose their own working hours. They can work for different ride-hailing apps at the same time, which would become impossible should full employee status be given to drivers.

Uber has been involved in many legal battles to protect drivers’ independence. Recently, the supreme court of the UK ruled that Uber drivers should be granted employee status and benefits that the status entails, like paying minimum wage and paid annual leave. This will likely increase the ride fare around the country.

This is not the first attempt at restricting Uber though. After protests of London black cab drivers, the transport regulation body TfL was pressured to introduce new restrictions on Uber. Some of these restrictions included a 5-minute wait between rides, which would have affected the delivery of service and, as Uber claimed, taken money out of drivers’ pockets. A petition against this restriction was signed by over 130,000 people and, fortunately, TfL decided to drop it. 

Brussels took a different yet equally restrictive path. The Belgian capital recently has even gone as far as banning app-based taxi systems, the essence of ride-hailing itself. This comes after pressure from the traditional taxi drivers, who were urging the government to regulate app-based ride-hailing that was becoming harder and harder for them to compete with.

Drivers who continue to accept trips via their smartphone face a risk of getting fined or having their license revoked. While Uber hasn’t been explicitly banned, countries like Denmark and Hungary have made it impossible for Uber to operate there and have practically forced the company out of the market. 

Across the ocean, the state of California has also been debating over the drivers’ status. Passed in 2020, Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) was meant to reclassify independent contractors as employees. According to the bill, ride-hailing and delivery services platforms would be required to offer multiple benefits to their drivers. This would have cost Uber and Lyft billions of dollars and increased the cost of ride-sharing services, making it increasingly unaffordable compared to traditional taxis.

Ride-hailing and delivery services platforms wanted to be exempt from granting worker-level benefits to their workers and threatened to suspend their services in the state of California. For example, it costs almost 2x more to catch a traditional taxi from LAX to Hollywood and with no more ride-hailing available, consumers would be left with fewer and more expensive options.

Proposition 22 was included in the November 2020 election ballot and passed with around 57% of California voters. This proposition allowed drivers on these apps to maintain their independent status with certain qualified benefits. But the California court recently ruled Proposition 22 unconstitutional, so it seems like the legal battle is far from being over. It is very likely that other states will follow the example of California which will put the fate of the ride-hailing in jeopardy.

Overall, even though ride-hailing services have made life easier and cheaper for consumers around the world, governments keep yielding to pressures mainly from traditional taxi industries and introducing regulations and restrictions that could potentially lead to the suspension of ride-hailing services.

The cases of the UK, Brussels and California discussed in this blogpost demonstrate a dangerous precedent for countries and cities around the world. If this trend continues, soon ride-hailing will no longer be any different from traditional services and the essence of the sharing economy will be lost. And, of course, consumers are the ones who will have to bear the burden of restricted choice.

The essence of the sharing economy – Sharing economy series, part 1

The current pandemic has taken a toll on most areas of economic activity, including the sharing economy. Cancelled holidays, stay-at-home orders, mobility restrictions due to quarantines, and lockdowns resulted in a sharp drop in demand for sharing economy services.

The Sharing Economy Index 2021, recently published by the Consumer Choice Center, examines the impact said restrictions have had on the sharing economy as well as provides an extensive overview of the availability of ride-sharing, flat sharing, and other types of peer-to-peer exchange. 

In this series of short blog posts, I will elaborate on what the sharing economy is, present the main findings of the Sharing Economy Index, and look at potential future regulations surrounding these services. 

The sharing (collaborative) economy has transformed human interactions around the globe. As a relatively new economic model, the sharing economy is a platform based type of exchange that allows individuals and groups to share their services on a peer-to-peer basis. 

One of the most distinctive features of the sharing economy is that it eliminates the need to own assets and allows people to use various items — cars, e-scooters, gyms — for a short time without buying them. For example, the flat-sharing platform Airbnb that has been around since 2008, allows you to rent a room or a whole place to yourself in exchange for a certain fee. Simple registration on their website or mobile app opens access to thousands of places around the world and is a great alternative to conventional hotels.

Another tech giant and San-Francisco native, Uber, offers services such as ride-hailing, food and package delivery and also requires just a simple registration process. Uber has been known to be a cheaper alternative to traditional taxi services and is currently available in 70 countries.

Technology has been the driving force behind these companies. However, platforms only act as intermediaries and facilitators: they instantly connect the supply with demand. All forms of collaborative consumption require the internet to connect providers with potential customers. Platforms offer a safe and easy-to-use platform to link people in need of certain services, assets to those who can provide them. 

The trust among users is built through the rating systems. Most platforms encourage review exchange to achieve the best user experience and guarantee safety. For example, for Airbnb, some hosts go the extra mile to make sure their guests enjoy their stay by offering free cleaning services or early check-in. Uber recently released Uber Lite to accommodate those people in developing countries who don’t own the latest smartphones and have an unstable internet connection. Mexico is one of those countries. To adjust to the needs of Mexican people even better, Uber also fought hard to enable cash payments in Mexico city, expanding their service to around 10 million people in the metropolitan area. 

Sharing economy provides services that are more affordable and accessible than their traditional counterparts. The main reason for this is the fewer entry barriers. In order to start driving Uber or rent out your flat through Airbnb, you use idle assets already in your possession. In many countries, platform businesses face fewer market entry barriers compared to traditional businesses, too. Often, it only takes a quick sign-up to join a sharing economy platform. 

A variety of services — from home-sharing to co-working spaces — has made our lives much easier. Even though the recent pandemic has been quite challenging, we’re optimistic that the sharing economy will continue to expand and provide even bigger benefits for people around the world. In the next blog post, we’ll go into details on what effects COVID-19 has had on the sharing economy platforms and how they responded.

Київ потрапив у топ-10 столиць за рівнем розвитку шерингової економіки.

Електросамокати, автомобілі, квартири… Київ другий рік поспіль у топ-10 столиць за рівнем розвитку шерингової економіки. Сервісів багато, і вони доступні. Про те, наскільки вигідно користувачу орендувати щось не від офіційної компанії, а через певну платформу чи додаток в іншого користувача, який хоче поділитися тим чи іншим ресурсом, та про перспективи цього бізнесу, йтиметься в програмі «Акцент» на Українському радіо.

Мобильность и “трудовое рабство”. Как в Киеве расцвела шеринговая экономика

Пока на Западе власть пытается урегулировать такие шеринговые сервисы, как Airbnb, Uber, Bolt и Glovo, в Украине они чувствуют себя вольготно

Киев опять попал в первые строчки мировых рейтингов. На этот раз — по уровню развития и доступности шеринговой экономики (sharing economy). Это понятие происходит от английского слова “to share” — делиться, и означает совместное потребление товаров или услуг. Шеринговая экономика зародилась, чтобы ограничить излишнее потребление и обеспечить эффективное распределение ресурсов. Однако затем эту сферу заняли в основном крупные компании, которые стали использовать принцип шеринга как коммерческую бизнес-модель. Это в свою очередь породило новую модель трудовых отношений — гиг-экономику, которая базируется на краткосрочных контрактах и неформальных договоренностях.

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