36 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2015 Last revised: 2 Oct 2016
Date Written: September 16, 2016
In an experiment on Airbnb, we find that applications from guests with distinctively African-American names are 16% less likely to be accepted relative to identical guests with distinctively White names. Discrimination occurs among landlords of all sizes, including small landlords sharing the property and larger landlords with multiple properties. It is most pronounced among hosts who have never had an African-American guest, suggesting only a subset of hosts discriminate. While rental markets have achieved significant reductions in discrimination in recent decades, our results suggest that Airbnb’s current design choices facilitate discrimination and raise the possibility of erasing some of these civil rights gains.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Edelman, Benjamin G. and Luca, Michael and Svirsky, Dan, Racial Discrimination in the Sharing Economy: Evidence from a Field Experiment (September 16, 2016). Forthcoming, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2701902 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2701902