A major concern in today’s economic reality is the extent to which a sharing economy, in comparison with a traditional economy, promotes inequality. In the transformation from a traditional to a sharing economy, wage setting is replaced by contract pricing. The switch to contract trading implies that the party who carries out the labor evaluates the transaction from a buyer’s rather than a seller’s perspective. Drawing on psychological research on constructed and reference-dependent preferences, we predicted that the net valuation of work would decrease when the regimen involved contract trading. Three experiments (N = 1,105) eliciting work valuation under the two regimens confirmed our prediction, thus pointing to a novel factor that increases inequality.
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- decision making
- endowment effect