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Zeroing in on Economics and how Sociology can help

Airbnb, one of the most successful companies in the sharing economy put forward a report that talks about the positive effects they have had on cities. 550,000 homes are hosted on Airbnb.  They say that in some cities it has actually increased tourism because more people could afford to visit. On the other hand, in San Francisco nightly rentals have meant rising rental costs for locals meaning they have had to move further and further away from the city. The sharing economy challenges the usual economic models for example it can’t be measured by GDP and regulation needs to be provided in a way that does not stifle the social good out of the service. An understanding of the social effects can be provided by sociological study. Otherwise instead of the sustainable development envisioned it may acually harm consumers rather than help them. I wonder to what degree economics is actually keeping up with innovation, as I have been writing this. I think there is a lot of opportunity for economic theory and methodology to mature (ancient as it may be) because of the web and the internet  especially if economists use a more interdisciplinary approach.

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