Air BnB while black: racism in the “sharing economy”

Cory Doctrow at BoingBoing summarizes recent research about how racism impacts both black guests and service providers at Air BnB:

Harvard Business School’s Benjamin Edelman, Michael Luca, and Dan Svirsky created 20 identical Airbnb profiles, ten of which had names meant to sound African-American, ten of which were meant to sound white and undertook thousands of attempted Airbnb bookings in Baltimore, Dallas, LA, St Louis and DC. They found that black-seeming Airbnb users were 16% more likely to have their requests declined than white-seeming users.

The study follows on Edelman and Luca’s 2014 study, which found that black Airbnb hosts earned about 12% less than their white counterparts on their listings.

In the new study, the researchers left the fake profile photos blank, which is generally an impediment to any kind of booking — but even so, white-seeming users found it significantly easier to book rooms. [link]

Using Airbnb while black [Kristen V. Brown/Fusion]

Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from a Field Experiment [Benjamin Edelman, Michael Luca, and Dan Svirsky/Harvard Business School]

Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com [Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca/Harvard Business School]

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