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Fairness, legitimacy and the regulation of home-sharing platforms

Gemma Newlands (Department of Communication and Culture, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Christoph Lutz (Department of Communication and Culture, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 15 September 2020

Issue publication date: 14 October 2020




The purpose of this study is to contribute to current hospitality and tourism research on the sharing economy by studying the under-researched aspects of regulatory desirability, moral legitimacy and fairness in the context of home-sharing platforms (e.g. Airbnb).


Three separate 2×1 between-subjects experimental vignette surveys are used to test the effects of three types of fairness (procedural, interpersonal and informational) on two outcomes: moral legitimacy and regulatory desirability.


The results of the research show that high perceived fairness across all three types increases moral legitimacy and reduces regulatory desirability. Respondents who perceive a fictional home-sharing platform to be fair consider it to be more legitimate and want it to be less regulated.

Research limitations/implications

Following established practices and reducing external validity, the study uses a fictional scenario and a fictional company for the experimental vignette. The data collection took place in the UK, prohibiting cultural comparisons.

Practical implications

The research is useful for home-sharing platform managers by showing how they can boost moral legitimacy and decrease regulatory desirability through a strong focus on fairness. It can also help policymakers and consumer protection advocates by providing evidence about regulatory desirability and how it is affected by fairness perceptions.


The study adds to hospitality and tourism research by offering theoretically meaningful and practically relevant conclusions about the importance of fairness in driving stakeholder opinions about home-sharing platforms.



The research was funded by the Research Council of Norway within grant agreement 275347 “Fair Labor in the Digitized Economy” and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Program within grant agreement 732117 “Ps2Share: Participation, Privacy and Power in the Sharing Economy”. We want to thank the anonymous peer reviewers of the article as well as International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management’s Editor-in-Chief Professor Fewzi Okumus for a very constructive peer-review process that helped strengthen the paper.


Newlands, G. and Lutz, C. (2020), "Fairness, legitimacy and the regulation of home-sharing platforms", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 32 No. 10, pp. 3177-3197.



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