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Economic Security and Work
by S. Kathi Brown, AARP Research, December 2016
The “sharing economy” is a term used to refer to the growing number of digital platforms through which individuals connect directly with one another in order to obtain and provide goods and services. Examples of these digital platforms include “transportation network companies” such as Lyft and Uber, home-sharing services such as Airbnb, and platforms that connect individuals with providers who can perform odd jobs such as TaskRabbit and Thumbtack. Many other types exist as well.
In this study, AARP examined how people with disabilities view the sharing economy. We held in-depth conversations with a total of 43 people who either have a disability or provide care to someone with a disability. Through these discussions, we sought to learn how to help make the sharing economy more accessible to everyone, regardless of ability level.
Ways to Improve Accessibility
In order to assess how the sharing economy could better address the needs of people with disabilities, we asked about nine potential changes to the sharing economy. All nine were well-received by the majority of participants. The five that received the most favorable reactions included:
Turtle Bay Institute, Inc., of Princeton, New Jersey, conducted this research for AARP. The project consisted of focus groups and in-depth interviews with 43 people who have a disability or provide care to someone who does. This research was qualitative, meaning that it was designed to gather in-depth feedback from a fairly small number of individuals. The qualitative nature of the project means that the findings should not be considered representative of the entire population of adults with disabilities.
All media inquiries about this report should be directed to (202) 434-2560. For all other questions, contact S. Kathi Brown, AARP Research, at SKBrown@aarp.org.
Brown, S. Kathi. The Sharing Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities. Washington, DC: AARP Research, December 2016. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00141.001
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