Racial disparities in the sharing economy: Evidence from more than 100,000 Airbnb hosts across 14 countries



Sharing economy platforms like Airbnb often require (or strongly encourage) hosts to share personal information, such as names and profile photos. Previous research suggests that consumers rely on this information to discriminate against sellers from racial minorities. If there is a preference for White hosts, then they should be able to charge higher prices for qualitatively similar rentals. Here, we examine racial price disparities on Airbnb. An analysis of 96,150 listings across 24 cities and 14 countries showed that non-White hosts charge approximately 2.5-3% lower prices for similar listings (Study 1). A preregistered analysis of 12,648 listings across 14 cities in the United States showed that, compared to White hosts, Black hosts charge approximately 5-7% lower prices and Asian hosts charge approximately 4-6% lower prices for similar listings (Study 2). These price disparities were not explained by differences in the quality of advertised listings between White and non-White hosts.
Date made available2020

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