Nature Scientific Reports publishes our study on trust for the sharing economy
We present an evolutionary trust game, taking punishment and protection into consideration, to investigate the formation of trust in the so-called sharing economy from a population perspective. Our results show that each player type influences the existence and survival of other types of players, and untrustworthy players do not necessarily dominate the population even when the temptation to defect (i.e., to be untrustworthy) is high. Additionally, we observe that imposing a heavier penalty or having insurance for all consumers (trustworthy and untrustworthy) can be counterproductive for promoting trustworthiness in the population and increasing the global net wealth. Our findings have important implications for understanding trust in the context of the sharing economy, and for clarifying the usefulness of protection policies within it.