New Results on Sharing Economy Presented at 53rd HICSS Conference

© 2020 EPFL

© 2020 EPFL

Prof. Weber presented his latest paper on “Nonlinear Pricing of Shareable Products” in the SITES mini-track at the 53rd Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS) on January 8, 2020. In this research, he develops a robust way to segment (or “screen”) a heterogeneous consumer base by jointly using the instruments of retail price and sharing tariff.

The new HICSS paper builds on Prof. Weber’s earlier work on “Smart Products for Sharing” (JMIS 2017) which shows that companies may be able to increase their revenues from shareable products by charging consumers at the point of sharing. For example, a railway company generally has the option to let a customer share his or her annual rail pass with others against a fee. The latter fee is referred to as a sharing tariff. The present work now allows the company to propose simultaneously different (retail price, sharing tariff)-combinations to consumers. Then, by selecting a most preferred such combination from the available menu of options, a consumer reveals his or her “preference type,” a process which is generally referred to as “screening” in economics. The paper constructs a revenue-maximizing screening menu, which maximizes a company’s revenues. A key insight from the paper is that the general shape of the optimal schedule is quadratic, independent of the company’s underlying beliefs about the distribution of preference types in the population. This in turn allows for a robust design of the firm’s menu of options.

The HICSS mini-track on “Strategy, Information, Technology, Economics, and Society” (SITES), now in its 33rd year, has been organized by Prof. Weber jointly with professors Eric K. Clemons (Wharton School), Robert J. Kauffman (Copenhagen Business School), and Rajiv Dewan (University of Rochester) for over a decade. Since 2019, the mini-track has been organized by Prof. Kauffman and Prof. Weber. A special section of the Journal of Management Information Systems (an FT 50 Journal), co-edited by Kauffman and Weber and scheduled to appear later in 2020, will feature several full-length papers developed from the SITES mini-track.


Weber, T.A. (2020) “Nonlinear Pricing of Shareable Products,” Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), pp. 6023—6032.

Weber, T.A. (2017) “Smart Products for Sharing,“ Journal of Management Information Systems (JMIS), Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 341—368.