Senate Hall Academic Publishing


Special Issue of the International Review of Entrepreneurship (IRE)



What have we learnt about Entrepreneurship and the Sharing Economy?  What do we still need to know?

The forthcoming IPO of Airbnb in 2020 makes the sharing economy a topical subject for academics, policy makers and practitioners.  This Special Issue aims to deepen our knowledge of entrepreneurship and the sharing economy, focusing on the two questions posed in the Special Issue’s title, namely, a decade on from the broad emergence of the sharing economy, what have we learnt about Entrepreneurship and the Sharing Economy and what do we still need to know?  From a theoretical perspective how far can we answer these questions using existing paradigms?  What new approaches are also required?  Furthermore, what insights can be offered from new methods of data collection, such as Amazon’s crowdsourced Mechanical Turk (MTurk)?

The sharing economy has become a dramatic addition to modern economy and society, with other well-known examples including Uber and Deliveroo. The sharing economy utilises unused assets to create value for the various stakeholders; the owners of the assets, potential customers and the entrepreneurial platforms which connect the parties to the transaction (Frenken and Schor, 2017).  The idea of monetising unused assets has seen start-ups focused on a wide range of areas with examples including spare parking spaces (JustPark), unused space in vehicles for delivery (Roadie), unused technical expertise from freelancers (Fiverr), and unused designer clothing (Tulerie). The sharing economy has also had a global impact and is particularly significant in China with an example being Didi Chuxing, the Chinese equivalent of Uber.

Whilst the term sharing economy is a recent addition to the entrepreneurship and business language eBay provides an early example of the trading of unused assets.  Sites such as eBay paved the way for the sharing economy by familiarising users with buying online from individuals through an intermediary.  The sharing economy was then aided by the emergence of Web 2.0 with social media integration a key aspect of the sharing economy, providing both access to networks of customers, suppliers and funders, and also an easy form of self-regulation through ratings and reviews. Moreover, smartphones enable location based services such as Uber which are not possible in the desktop Web 1.0 world.  In addition, a growing ecosystem with complementary services has emerged, with for example, revenue maximising models for Airbnb and specialised insurance for car sharing models.

The sharing economy facilitates business start-up by providing the ability to bypass regulatory barriers to entry.  Elert and Henrekson (2016, p96) describe such evasive entrepreneurship as “aimed at circumventing the existing institutional framework by using innovations to exploit contradictions in that framework”.  Sharing economy firms have thus operated in a grey area either taking advantage of a lack of clarity, exacerbated by technological change and/or ignoring regulations.

Another prominent area of the sharing economy, crowdfunding, which connects small investors, i.e. the crowd, to firms and entrepreneurs who are looking for funding is significant both as an example of fintech entrepreneurship and as part of the alternative finance landscape (Kaartemo, 2017).  Signalling theory has been usefully employed to understand the success of crowdfunding campaigns, e.g. Ahlers et al (2016), whilst Kaminski et al (2019, p287) find “that successful crowdfunding campaigns lead to a subsequent increase in VC investments”.  In the case of crowdfunding the ability of the crowd to evaluate investment propositions and the suitability of crowdfunded finance at the various stages of the start-up cycle are questions which also need to be addressed.

The Special Issue would welcome papers which make use of emerging sources of data collection such as MTurk.  For an interesting discussion of this and experimental research methods for entrepreneurship see Hsu et al (2016).  However, all papers must meet the same high standards for publication. 


Some areas of interest for the Special Issue include the following:

  • How has the sharing economy changed entry barriers for entrepreneurs?
  • Evasive entrepreneurship and the sharing economy.  How should sharing economy entrepreneurs interact with regulators?
  • How are the new forms of funding available through the sharing economy, e.g. various forms of crowdfunding, affecting entrepreneurial finance? As a related question what factors determine successful crowdfunding?
  • The role of sharing economy firms as entrepreneurial platforms, e.g. freelancers.
  • The sharing economy and social entrepreneurship
  • Reciprocity and entrepreneurship in the sharing economy
  • Valuation models for the sharing economy
  • How entrepreneurial opportunities through the sharing economy differ in emerging markets?

Other areas not listed above will be considered.  Feel free to contact the Special Issue Editor with any queries.

Research papers, conceptual papers, case studies and research commentaries are welcome.  Papers which use traditional and emerging sources of data are both welcome.

Submission date: 31 July 2020 though submissions can be made earlier.

Please read the Notes for Authors at

Manuscripts should be submitted to the Special Issue Editor Dr. Des Laffey,



Ahlers, G.K., Cumming, D., Günther, C., and Schweizer, D. (2015), “Signaling in equity crowdfunding”, Entrepreneurship theory and practice39 (4): 955-980.

Elert, N., and Henrekson, M. (2016), “Evasive entrepreneurship”, Small Business Economics47 (1): 95-113.

Frenken, K. and Schor, J. (2017), “Putting the sharing economy into perspective”, Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 23:3-10.

Gornall, W., and Strebulaev, I.A. (2019 forthcoming), “Squaring venture capital valuations with reality”, Journal of Financial Economics.

Hsu, D.K., Simmons, S.A. and Wieland, A.M. (2017), “Designing entrepreneurship experiments: a review, typology, and research agenda”, Organizational Research Methods, 20 (3): 379-412.

Kaminski, J., Hopp, C., and Tykvová, T. (2019), “New technology assessment in entrepreneurial financing–Does crowdfunding predict venture capital investments?”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change,139: 287-302.

Kaartemo, V. (2017), The Elements of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign: A Systematic Literature Review of Crowdfunding Performance, International Review of Entrepreneurship, Vol 15: Issue 3, pages 291-318

Sundararajan, A., (2016). The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism, Cambridge, MA MIT Press.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Des Laffey

Kent Business School

University of Kent

Canterbury CT2 7PE


+44 1227 827489