Do You Feel Like Sharing? An Empirical Research of Cognitive Ease and the Endowment Effect within the Peer-to-Peer Sharing Economy

Marc Aas Sørensen & Andreas Damtoft Jacobsen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This master thesis studies a sub-category of collaborative consumption – the peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing economy – which generally considers the P2P sharing between individuals administrated by an online platform. The sharing economy in general is an increasingly popular trend, which makes it relevant to study people’s engagement therein. Thus, the chosen topic for this thesis is to explore the barriers and drivers for people to engage in the P2P sharing economy. This is done with a behavioural economics perspective that is further narrowed down to focus on cognitive ease theory and the endowment effect. Hence, the main focus of this thesis lies in exploring people’s emotional attachment to products, their feelings about processes within the P2P sharing economy, and its effect on their overall engagement. To address this thesis’ main topic, a qualitative empirical research design was developed. This consist of two focus groups that were further supported by two expert interviews. These data sources were transcribed and coded in accordance to the main focus of emotional attachment and its effect on engagement in the P2P sharing economy. The aim hereafter was to construct a model that explains the behavioural phenomena within cognitive ease and the endowment effect. Thus, it follows an inductive research method. Based on the conducted research, it can be concluded that emotional attachment, in the form of cognitive strain and high endowment effect, has a negative effect on people’s willingness to share. The findings further reveal that each of the categories, cognitive strain and the endowment effect, further consist of three main barriers that explain a current low level of willingness to engage in the P2P sharing economy. To address these barriers, a set of solutions are suggested based on the findings, which ultimately propose that a higher level of cognitive ease and a lower endowment effect can be achieved. Consequently, a higher willingness and corresponding increased engagement in the P2P sharing economy is realisable

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages214
SupervisorsKai Hockerts