A Framework for Assessing Democratic Qualities in Collaborative Economy Platforms: Analysis of 10 Cases in Barcelona
The term “collaborative economy” or “collaborative economy platforms” refers to exchange, sharing, and collaboration in the consumption and production of capital and labor among distributed groups, supported by a digital platform. Collaborative economies’ use is growing rapidly and exponentially, creating high expectations of sustainability and their potential to contribute to the democratization of the economy. However, collaborative economy platforms lack a holistic framework to assess their sustainability and pro-democratization qualities. In addition, there is confusion about platforms which present themselves as collaborative when they actually are not, and similar uncertainties and ambiguities are associated with diverse models. To address this confusion, this article provides a framework for assessing the pro-democratic qualities of collaborative economy initiatives. It was applied to 10 cases in the context of the city of Barcelona. The methods used in this study include mapping and typifying 10 collaborative economy cases in the city, structured and in-depth interviews, and a co-creation session. The results indicate the presence of several modalities for favoring democratic values in a collaborative economy.