WASHINGTON, JULY 25, 2018—A new index from the Swedish think tank Timbro reveals the true size of the sharing economy worldwide. Iceland tops the list. Malaysia comes in at 69th place.
“The Timbro Sharing Economy Index is the first global index of the sharing economy. The index has been compiled using traffic volume data and scraped data, and provides unique insight into the driving factors behind the peer-to-peer economy”, says head researcher Alexander Funcke, Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.
Previous reports on the size of the sharing economy have employed surveys or self-reported indicators. For the Timbro Sharing Economy Index, researchers have collected monthly traffic data for 286 services in 213 countries. A complete count of active suppliers was also conducted for 21 of the 286 services using automated web scraping techniques, among them Airbnb.
Iceland, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montenegro, Malta, and New Zealand top the list. Malaysia ranks at 69th place.
“Generally, countries with a mature Internet infrastructure and a tourism-fueled economy have large sharing economies. Consider Iceland. As the Icelandic economy was recovering from the financial crisis, the country saw a spike in tourism. The sharing economy grew rapidly to meet the demand, in a way that is hard to imagine a traditional tourist industry could have done”, says Alexander Funcke.
The largest company in the data set is Airbnb, with almost 1.5 million suppliers judged to be active in an average week. Out of the 286 companies analyzed in the study, one-third supply housing.
“The study shows that the same economic freedom indicators that predict a large traditional economy are also significant predictors for the size of the sharing economy. This goes against the hypothesis that the sharing economy mainly serves to avoid taxes and regulations”, says Karin Svanborg-Sjövall, CEO of Timbro.
Commenting on the release of the index, IDEAS CEO Ali Salman said: “The sharing economy is becoming an ever more important source of growth around the world. We have seen this in Malaysia, where the sharing economy has provided employment and more choice for consumers. But this index shows that Malaysia still has further to go. If the full potential of the sharing economy is to be realised, then the government must focus on regulation that favours innovation and competition rather than stifling new players.
IDEAS is currently conducting a study into the regulation of e-hailing services. It is clear that these new services have provided consumers with a new ways to commute and travel and have also provided an important source of employment. New regulations should of course ensure passenger and driver safety, but they should not introduce burdensome requirements that could dampen innovation and raise prices. The government should not be too quick to regulate the sharing economy and should consider carefully the costs and benefits of these new sources of growth.”
TOP 10 COUNTRIES
2. Turks and Caicos Islands
5. New Zealand
7. Faroe Islands
Download the Timbro Sharing Economy Index here.
Watch the launch live on Facebook here.
Questions and press and/or speaker inquiries should be addressed to:
Alexander Funcke, Head Researcher
Ali Salman, Chief Executive Officer
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Malaysia
Telephone: 03 2070 8881/8882
Timbro was founded in 1978 and is the largest free market think tank in the Nordics. Its mission is to advocate in favor of free enterprise, individual freedom, and an open society. Each year Timbro publishes two indices in English: Timbro Authoritarian Populist Index, which maps the rise of populist parties in Europe, and as of 2018, the Timbro Sharing Economy Index. Timbro is part of the European think tank network Epicenter and is also closely connected to the Atlas Network in the United States.
The following think-tanks are collaborating on the launch of the index: Americans for Tax Reform (US), Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (Australia), CAAS (Serbia), Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (Indonesia), Civil Development Forum (Poland), Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Malaysia), IDEAS (Costa Rica) and Institute for Market Economics (Bulgaria).