Government-Driven Sharing Economy: Lessons From the Sharing City Initiative of the Seoul Metropolitan Government
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has been presenting a series of public policies to promote its Sharing City Initiative (SCI) since 2012. The initiative promotes many sharing programs that are aimed at providing opportunities to those who are in need of cars and public facilities such as parking facilities, convention facilities, and public libraries. This study examines the potential contribution of information and communication technology (ICT) to sustainable development and investigates the government’s role in the sharing economy based on the SCI undertaken by the SMG. Based on selected cases, this study suggests that the sharing economy is not necessarily purely market driven but can often be promoted and utilized by governments as a policy instrument for both economic and social goals. The findings of this study demonstrate that the underprivileged could be a target beneficiary group of a sharing economy if a government specifically designs a sharing economy project like the SCI. It is also important for governments to use government funding such as subsidies to initially promote the sharing economy project as well as to establish a supportive legal framework to overcome existing laws which often constrain sharing economy activities. Governments need to establish partnerships with various stakeholders including private enterprises, social enterprises, and NGOs as well as other local governments to take advantage of the economy of scale of a sharing economy. Lastly, this study shows that a government-driven sharing economy project can help to make governments more transparent and accountable if governments actively open their data to promote a sharing economy.