The Environmental Impact of Sharing: Household and Urban Economies in CO2 Emissions

Authors: Anders Fremstad, Anthony Underwood, Sammy Zahran
Date published: November 2016
Research commissioned by: Colorado State University and Dickinson College

Why did we select this research?

The paper pursuits the ambitious goal of constructing a dataset of CO2 emissions at the household level and leverage a unique measure of residential density to estimate household and urban economics. This research fits in the challenging domain of evaluating the environmental impact of sharing economy practices.

Key findings

Studies find that per capita carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) decrease with household size and urban density, so the demographic trends of declining household size and dense urbanization produce countervailing effects with respect to emissions. Results show that dense urban areas have per capita emissions 23 percent lower than rural areas, and that adding an additional member to a household reduces per capita emissions by about 6 percent. It is also shown that household economies are about twice as large in rural as compared to dense urban areas. These results suggest that the carbon benefits of dense urbanization have the potential to offset the effects of declining household size.


Fremstad, A., Underwood, A., & Zahran, S. (2018). The Environmental Impact of Sharing: Household and Urban Economies in CO 2 Emissions. Ecological Economics, 145, 137-147.