With the proliferation of IT, the fate of the old economy was sealed, and the beginning of the new economy was marked. The new economy focuses on providing services rather than on optimizing the industrial production of goods. The exchange of information and software plays a key role in the new economy. For a long time, these two economies coexisted, but the influence of the new economy has become stronger and stronger so that some traditional business models have become obsolete and have finally been replaced by novel ones. Essentially, there has been a shift from a heavy industry economy to a more (information) technology-driven economy. Yet, the development of the new economy was by no means straightforward and uneventful, as illustrated by the burst of the dot-com bubble, frequently referred to as the crisis of the new economy (Buhl and Jetter 2009). Today, it is not that the old economy is dead – some traditional companies are still quite successful players, but very often struggle with changes necessary for sustainable business models. Meanwhile, however, a new development is taking place on the side of the new economy: Researchers and business practitioners are recognizing a multitude of novel (sub-)economies or subsectors of the new economy: Digital economy, sharing economy, platform economy, gig economy, token economy, just to name a few.Footnote 1 These economies have the potential to – or already have – revolutionize(d) the way individuals, groups, enterprises, and society participate in or run business activities. While some of them already possess a remarkable age [e.g., Shapiro and Varian (1998) coined the term network and information economy more than 20 years ago], others have only recently started to attract wide attention [e.g., the token economy (Sunyaev et al. 2021)]. However, the fact is that some companies acting under the umbrella of these economies have developed into massive economic players today. Some examples:
Gig economy: Uber, Lieferando, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Amazon Mechanical Turk, etc.;
Sharing economy: Airbnb, Stashbee, BlablaCar, Lime, Couchsurfing, etc.;
Platform economy: Amazon, Zalando, Bol, Alibaba, eBay, etc. (van der Aalst et al. 2019).
When one browses the track descriptions of this year’s ICIS conference, four different economies are particularly named (i.e., circular economy, sharing economy, gig economy, and crowd economy). Similarly, across all BISE articles originating from the last two years (since 2019), ten different types of economies have been denoted. These comprise (number of different articles mentioned): Platform economy (5), digital economy (6), sharing economy (6), circular economy (1), token economy (2), DLT (distributed ledger technology) economy (1), internet economy (1), gig economy (2), OTF (on-the-fly computing) economy (1), and attention economy (1).
As different as they may appear, they all have in common that they either create new business models by leveraging technological innovations (e.g., blockchain, artificial intelligence, etc.) or are the consequence of these innovations. Therefore, the rise of these economies is highly relevant for BISE authors and readers. Research on some of these economies is deeply rooted in the IS discipline, whereas others may only play a much more prominent role in the future. Due to the plethora of economies that have emerged in recent years, we have seen the need to provide an overarching structure, but also to critically question whether the existence of this multitude of economies is justified.