The social dilemma of car sharing – The impact of power and the role of trust in community car sharing

Barbara Hartl, Eva Hofmann

Publikation: Wissenschaftliche FachzeitschriftOriginalbeitrag in FachzeitschriftBegutachtung

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Car sharing represents a promising solution for sustainable transportation. Considering that there are already many cars that are not used to their full capacity, car sharing communities, whereby a group of people share access to a car, represent a sustainable alternative. However, sharing a car within a community results in the challenge of shared contributions and shared requests and thus, constitutes a social dilemma. From a social dilemma perspective, rational individualistic interests collide with collective interests of the sharing group: While each member would be better off contributing as little as possible and using the car as much as possible, it is in the collective interest of the group that each member pays a fair share and uses the resource fairly. This paper analyzes the problem of contributing to a shared car through the social dilemma framework and focuses on two potential factors that might influence drivers’ behavior: power (e.g., sanctions, expertise) and trust mechanisms (i.e., presenting badges) used by the car sharing community. This paper presents the results of two laboratory experiments. Study 1 (N = 183) reveals that power mechanisms, e.g., sanctions, affect the contribution to a shared car. Study 2 (N = 246) replicates the results of Study 1 and further shows that the presence of a trust mechanism (i.e., badge system) shapes the impact of power on contributions. The current research provides valuable insights for research on car sharing and the sharing economy in general and is particularly relevant for the constitution of sharing communities.
FachzeitschriftInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2021