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Initiative on the Sharing Economy publications

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  • Dockless bike sharing: Coming soon to the Twin Cities (StarTribune, November 6, 2017)
    A rite of late autumn in the Twin Cities involves hundreds of cheery green Nice Ride Minnesota bikes being gathered up and packed away for winter storage. But a big change is in the works for bike-sharing here, and it may make its debut as soon as next spring. Instead of pedaling a Nice Ride bike from station to station, cyclists will use smartphone apps to locate and rent "dockless bikes" anywhere and leave them locked wherever they please. At least that’s the theory. The reality could be a bit different.... "Any time you have innovation like this, it raises questions about the right balance between community control and laissez-faire," said Greg Lindsey, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. "This tension is definitely playing out." [This story also appeared in Governing on November 7, 2017]
  • UMN students turn to Airbnb to ease tuition and living costs (Pioneer Press, October 25, 2017)
    University of Minnesota students are turning to short-term rental services like Airbnb to ease living expenses and tuition costs. Student “hosts” say the service accommodates their packed schedules. But recent regulations passed by the Minneapolis City Council could complicate business. “Cash-strapped” college students facing steep housing and tuition costs can recoup some of their money by leasing an extra room, said Saif Benjaafar, a U professor in industrial and systems engineering who heads the school’s initiative on the sharing economy.
  • National non-profit comes to Minneapolis with ride sharing goals (Minnesota Daily, July 12, 2017)
    The Shared-Use Mobility Center, a nonprofit that promotes “shared mobility” services, introduced an action plan to Minneapolis City Council Tuesday to lay out its goals and plans for the future of Twin Cities ride sharing.... Saif Benjaafar, director of the University’s Initiative on the Sharing Economy, said in an email the relatively low costs of cars in the U.S., taxes on them and their fuel have led to their prevalence. However, Benjaafar said evidence shows consumers are willing to share rides with strangers given the right incentives and safeguards.
  • TaskRabbit sharing economy revolution overshadowed by Uber (The Sydney Morning Herald, December 24, 2016)
  • TaskRabbit’s Stalled Revolution (Bloomberg Technology, December 22, 2016)
    TaskRabbit was founded in 2008 with a big idea. On the company's website and app, people make money by assembling strangers’ Ikea furniture or cleaning their bathrooms.... Saif Benjaafar, who runs the Sharing Economy Initiative, a research project at the University of Minnesota, credits TaskRabbit with helping create a movement.
  • Sharing economy delivers risks, rewards to Rochester (Minnesota Public Radio News, October 4, 2016)
  • Uber faces new competition for business customers (Le Temps, August 10, 2016)
    A few days apart, Lyft has confirmed monthly losses of $ 50 million and launched its premium Lyft Premier offer. Saif Benjaafar, director of the Sharing Economy initiative at the University of Minnesota, said there was nothing inconsistent about it. "Most of these start-ups are first trying to gain market share. Their success depends above all on their ability to quickly build a solid base of customers and drivers, "analyzes the professor. "To get there, you often have to subsidize on both sides." In the words of John Zimmer, co-founder and chairman of Lyft, these spectacular losses would in fact amount to investment.
  • Symposium sparks discussion of sharing economy's promise—and perils (CTS Catalyst, June 2016)
  • The sharing economy is here (Institute on the Environment blog, June 16, 2016)
  • How Libraries — Yes, Libraries — Are Helping People Ditch Stuff They Don’t Need (Huffington Post, April 29, 2016)
  • Sharing Economy in the Fast Lane (China’s People’s Daily, China’s largest newspaper, also picked up by Xinhuanet, March 16, 2016)
  • What’s your StORy? (OR/MS Today, February 18, 2016)
  • Hispanics Twice as Likely to Regularly Use Ride-Sharing Apps (Morning Consult, June 23, 2015)
  • Sharing economy gaining traction in the republic (Straits Times, Singapore largest newspaper, February 4, 2014)