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Towards an index of the collaborative economy

This paper proposes a method for measuring the economic impact of collaborative economy activities on households.

Despite an abundance of headline grabbing statistics and predictions, our understanding of the collaborative economy’s impact is limited at best. To improve our knowledge of the collaborative economy’s economic, social and environmental impact, we need to find rigorous and appropriate methods of measuring and evaluating collaborative economy activity.

Nesta commissioned Tooley Street Research to propose a method for understanding the economic impact of collaborative economy activities. To create a specific and measurable approach, the paper focuses on collaborative activities at a household level, where people are selling, lending, giving or leasing assets they own using internet technologies. The proposed method seeks to measure participation in these activities over the last six months, and their estimated monetary value of these transactions. Using a sample poll, this paper describes and tests a possible method and discusses its potential to be developed further.

Undertaken at regular intervals, this method could be used to track collaborative economy activity over time. It could also be integrated with other methods to develop an index of collaborative economy activity more generally.

Next steps

This paper offers a rigorous method for understanding one aspect of the collaborative economy. Going forward, additional measures are needed to understand different aspects of the collaborative economy at various scales. As additional measures are identified and refined, we believe there is a wider opportunity to coordinate efforts to create a comprehensive index of the collaborative economy.

Author

Tooley Street Research

Authors

Helen Goulden

Helen Goulden

Helen Goulden

Executive Director, Innovation Lab

Helen was an Executive Director at Nesta and lead our Innovation Lab. The Lab’s mission is to support and scale innovation for the public good; working with partners to run innovatio...

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Kathleen Stokes

Kathleen Stokes

Kathleen Stokes

Senior Researcher, Social Innovation

Kathleen was a Senior Researcher leading on Nesta’s policy and research work in digital education and the collaborative economy. At Nesta, Kathleen researched and written various pub...

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