Racial discrimination in the sharing economy: Evidence from Airbnb markets across the world

Research output: Working paperScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Online peer-to-peer platforms aim to reduce anonymity and increase trust by displaying personal information about sellers. However, consumers may also rely on the names and profile photos of sellers to avoid sellers from certain social groups. Here we analyze more than 100,000 Airbnb rentals to test whether consumers discriminate against hosts from racial minorities. If consumers prefer to stay with a White host, then hosts from racial minorities should be able to charger lower prices for similar rentals. In Study 1, we analyzed 96,150 Airbnb listings across 24 cities, 14 countries, and 3 continents and found that non-White hosts charge 2.74% lower prices for qualitatively similar rentals. In Study 2, a preregistered analysis of 12,648 listings across 14 cities in the United States showed that, compared to White hosts, Black hosts charge 7.39% lower prices and Asian hosts charge 5.94% lower prices. Even though the magnitude of the price penalties varied, they emerged consistently across most cities. In sum, the current findings suggest that there is widespread discrimination against Airbnb hosts from racial minorities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 2020

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