Ongoing research in the IIPE

Trust and Discrimination in the Sharing Economy —With a Special Focus on Collaborative Consumption Platforms

Principal investigator: Borbála Simonovits, PhD.

Financed by: Young Researcher’s Grant by the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund (FK 127978)

Implementation period: From 1 December 2019 to 30 November 2021

Abstract: Sharing economy organisations are rapidly spreading worldwide. We focus our attention on collaborative consumption platforms in order to understand the working mechanisms of creating online trust and discriminatory selection of service users, as literature in this area is limited. We argue that the personalization of transactions through the built-in selection mechanisms on the platforms results in various types of discrimination. We will carry out several field experiments manipulating both service users’ ethnicity/nationality and review information by employing randomized control trials. Beyond the analysis of the experimental outcome the qualitative analysis of the messages received from the service providers in the field experiment We will complete our field research with qualitative research—including individual and group interviews—with different stakeholders using collaborative consumption platforms as well as contextual analysis of selected sites. The qualitative data analysis will enable us to understand how on-line trust is built and maintained in these on-line platforms as well as to explore which type of discriminatory models (statistical vs. taste-based) can be better applied to the users of the different online market platforms.

Methods to be applied: The personal and group interviews with individual users and service providers will enable us to better understand why and how the different stakeholders discriminate against each other; but more importantly the experimental design will serve as a basis for establishing causality between the type of information available for the service user (review/self-claimed review/no information) and the potentially discriminatory behaviour of the private service provider. In other words, with the randomized experimental setup we will be able to answer our core research question: Is there a direct link between lack of information and discrimination by the users (supporting the idea of statistical discrimination)? Or the other way around: Does discrimination still persist, even if there is sufficient information provided on the user (supporting the idea of taste-based discrimination)? 

Key words: sharing economy, collaborative consumption, field experiments, trust, statistical discrimination, taste-based discrimination

Relevant publications that have emerged from the pilot phase of this project:

Simonovits, B. and G. Simonovits (2020): Would You Ride With Me? Discrimination in Shared Mobility Platforms. Results of a Pilot Study. 
International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS).
Conference paper.

Bori Simonovits; Anikó Bernát; Bálint Balázs (2019): The Fragile Landscape of the Sharing Economy in Hungary. Country Report. Working Paper.

B. Simonovits and A. Cioancă (2019): Trust and Discrimination on Collaborative Consumption Platforms With a Special Focus on Ridesharing Platforms. Working Paper.

Simonovits, B., Shvets, I. and Taylor, H. C (2018): Discrimination in the sharing economy: evidence from a Hungarian field experiment. Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. Vol .9 (2018)1, 55-79. DOI: 10.14267/CJSSP.2018.1.03

Published papers:

Simonovits, G., Simonovits, B. Víg, Á. Hobot, P. Németh, R. Csomor, G. (2021). Back to ‘normal’: The short-lived impact of an online NGO campaign of government discrimination in Hungary. Political Science Research and Methods. p. 1-9.DOI:



Completed research project

A Meta Analysis of Intergroup Contact Theory Based on Surveys, Controlled Experiments and Case Studies—With a Special Focus on Immigrants Living in Europe

Principal investigator: Borbála Simonovits, PhD.

Financed by: Post-Doctorate Research Grant by theNational Research, Development and Innovation Fund (PD 121095)

Implementation period: from 1 October 2016 to 31 March 2019

Abstract: Intergroup relations between the majority population and immigrant minorities is inevitably a hot issue in the European context. Most of the European countries experience some kind and level of social change brought about by international migration and face the serious challenge of integrating first-, second- and third-generation migrants. Moreover, the migration crisis of the recent years has been increasingly affecting Europe, raising further policy questions and security dilemmas related to the integration of third country national migrants and refugees. As ethnic tensions and conflicts have been a major concern for European urban and social policy makers, the different aspects of intergroup relations and the dynamic processes of social change evolving in increasingly diverse local societies has become a major research area in the social sciences.

Methods: As in this project our aim is to understand how the different types of intergroup contacts (on the individual level) and the different patterns of coexistences (on the neighbourhood level) enhance or hamper the development of intergroup relations and integration of immigrants, we apply the following various research methods: secondary data analysis, interviews and case studies, field experiments.

Key words: intergroup contact, integration, migration migration related threats

Relevant publications that have emerged from the project:

Published papers:

Simonovits, B. (2016): Realistic and Symbolic Threats. The Social Basis of Mass-Migration Related Fear in Contemporary Hungary. Review of Sociology. 2016/4. Vol. 4. pp. 53-74.

Simonovits, B,  Sik E., and  Szeitl B. (2016)  Az idegenellenesség alakulása és a bevándorlással kapcsolatos félelmek Magyarországon és a visegrádi országokban Régió. 24. Évf. 2016/2. pp. 81-108.

Simonovits, B. and Szeitl, B. (2016) Menekültekkel és migrációs politikával kapcsolatos attitűdök Magyarországon és nemzetközi összehasonlításban In:  Kolosi, T. and Tóth, I. Gy. (eds): Társadalmi Riport 2016. TÁRKI, Budapest, 2016 p. 420-440.

B. Simonovits (2018): Inter-Group Contacts and Anti-Immigrant Sentiments at the Dawn of the 2015 Migration Crisis: The Case of Hungary. Working Paper.

Simonovits, B. and Szeitl, B. (2019): Attitudes towards migration and migration policies in Hungary and Europe (2014-2018) In:  Kolosi, T. and Tóth, I. Gy. (eds): Social Report 2018. TÁRKI, Budapest, 2018.

Simonovits, B. (2020): The Public Perception of the Migration Crisis from the Hungarian Point of View—Evidence from the Field. In:  Birgit Glorius, Jeroen Doomernik (eds) Geographies of Asylum in Europe and the Role of European Localities. Part II: Moralities and Rationalities of Refugee Reception. IMISCOE Research Series, Springer. 155-176.

Koltai, J. Sik, E. and Simonovits, B (2020) Network capital and migration potential, International Journal of Sociology, DOI: 10.1080/00207659.2020.1726110

Network capital and migration potential. Interview with Bori Simonovits in Hungarian and a report in English by ELTE PPK. Interview republished by, ELTE.