More for less? Sharing economy as a driver of welfare innovation

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This article investigates sharing economy as a path to welfare innovation. It is based on a case where a digital platform is activated in order to support sharing among citizens with lung disease, and thereby increase health and wellbeing. The case exemplifies how sharing economy currently is taken up by public actors in the attempt to prolong the goals of the public sector beyond itself. This implies drawing everyday sharing practices into a new middle between formal organization and private relations. In a critical response to literature on sharing economy that tends to reduce ‘sharing’ to ‘transaction’, the article draws attention to how sharing entangles with hopes, fears, and affectual engagements of everyday life, and to how it interacts with technology in unforeseen ways and beyond anticipated outcomes. Based on the analysis, the article concludes that there may be good reasons for public welfare authorities to engage in facilitating sharing among citizens. This is not because it is likely to provide ‘more for less’ in relation to predetermined goals, but rather because it can open up other
kinds of welfare outcomes that cannot be produced by public organizations themselves
Original languageEnglish
JournalTechnology Innovation Management Review
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)19-27
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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